Postdoc Spotlight - Dr. Rafael Quintero-Bermudez Combines the World of Material Science with Aspirations for Groundbreaking Research

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By Simmerdeep Kaur | VSPA News Editor | January 20, 2023

Rafael Quintero-Bermudez grew up in Mexico City and was invested in Material Sciences right from his graduate studies. Even though he worked for a year in a solar company after graduating, he knew he needed something more stimulating.

“The research in academia could be more groundbreaking,” said Rafael.

So, instead of taking up a job as an engineer and just solving a technical problem, he resumed his journey in the world of research to serve a bigger means through material science. 

As a part of his Postdoc at Berkeley, Rafael is studying the fundamental processes in materials. His work involves using ultrafast lasers to understand the type of particles that exist in different materials and how they interact with light. 

With the help of this research, Rafael also aspires to better understand certain phenomena of materials that will potentially lead to real-life applications. This could involve using better materials for solar cells and LEDs or improving communications using quantum materials. 

Despite all his academic success, Rafael believes the most fulfilling part of his career has been training younger people in research. “Knowing that several grad students couldn’t get a lot of practical experience due to COVID-19 and then helping them upskill to the point where they can successfully conduct their own experiments, I felt pretty good about that,” added Rafael.

Not being able to understand something can often be frustrating. But, Rafael has always used that to his advantage. His goal in research is to learn. Even when things are not working out, he is focused on learning why they are not. 

“I always go with the mentality that it’s a learning opportunity,” he added.

With the ultimate goal of conducting research in a national lab or in academia as a professor, Rafael Quintero-Bermudez is taking it one life chapter at a time, the current one being Berkeley.