Professor Ksenia Dolgaleva
My name is Ksenia Dolgaleva; I am an Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa and a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Integrated Photonics. My primary affiliation is with the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering. I am also cross-appointed with the Department of Physics, Faculty of Science. I have always been intrigued by fundamental physics, and at the same time, I enjoy the excitement of engineering research. During my undergraduate, Ph.D., and postdoctoral studies, I was lucky to gain experience in both, and I presently carry on both fundamental and applied research.
And here is what brought me to where I am now...
I was born in Astrakhan, Russia (at that time Soviet Union). It is an old city situated in the southwest of Russia, just north of the Caspian Sea, where the River Volga enters the sea. Then I followed my parents to Murmansk, the northwest of Russia, close to Scandinavia. There I finished high school with honours and a Silver Medal. At that time, I established my interest to become a physicist.
With this thought in mind, I went to Moscow to take entrance examinations for the Faculty of Physics at Lomonosov Moscow State University and got admitted to the program. I made a personal commitment to achieving more than just completing a degree in Physics. I wanted to work my way up to become a Professor of Physics to teach fundamental subjects and to do research in Physics.
During the first two years in the physics program at Moscow State University, we studied quite profoundly four sub-areas of Physics: Mechanics, Molecular Physics, Electricity and Magnetism, and Optics. The latter caught my attention and became the subject of passion that I carry throughout my entire career. While studying Quantum Mechanics and Atomic Physics during the third and fourth years at the university, I realized that Optics includes these two exciting disciplines as well, and there was no doubt that I should choose Optics as the field of my specialization. So I did, selecting the Department of Optics and Spectroscopy to complete my undergraduate research and Diploma in Physics (an equivalent of the North-American Master degree).
Preoccupied with the thought of becoming a Professor in Physics who specializes in Optics, I finished my undergraduate program in Moscow and moved to Rochester, NY (USA) to perform my doctoral studies at the Institute of Optics, the University of Rochester. Moscow State University gave me a solid fundamental background in Physics and Mathematics. It was time to give this knowledge some practical twist while expanding it further. The Institute of Optics was a perfect place to start gaining this different practical perspective while enhancing and deepening the fundamental background.
I was accepted to the research group of Prof. Robert Boyd where I've been working on my Ph.D. thesis for a few years. Needless to say, it was an amazing experience: I could not believe how lucky I was to have gotten this opportunity to learn Nonlinear Optics from the world-famous expert in the field. Since then, it became my primary subject of interest: all my research is centred around Nonlinear Optics. Among the projects that I've been working on as a part of my Ph.D. were nanocomposite optical materials, local-field effects, chiral metasurfaces, cholesteric liquid crystal lasers, 1D photonic crystal structures for enhanced nonlinear optical interactions, and many others.
Once I have completed my Ph.D. in Optics at the University of Rochester, I moved to Toronto, Canada to work with Prof. Stewart Aitchison on integrated optical devices based on AlGaAs at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the University of Toronto. It was a very valuable (and a very different) experience. The devices I worked on had a direct practical implication. A completely new field opened up to me: integrated photonics for optical communications. I realized how powerful an impact of integrated photonics could be and decided to work on developing all-optical signal processing functions on a chip.
I have joined the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in July 2013 as an Assistant Professor and as a member of the Quantum Photonics team at the University of Ottawa. I am presently a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Integrated Photonics, and a recipient of the Ontario Early Researcher Award. As of May 2019, I hold Tenure and the rank of Associate Professor at uOttawa. Together with my research group at uOttawa, we conduct research in three major directions: integrated photonics, nanostructured optical materials, and terahertz optics.