Laser Technology Leader Vassilia Zorba: A Rising Star in Photonics

November 7, 2023

Physicist Senior Scientist  Vassilia Zorba, leader of the Laser Technologies Group in the Energy Storage and DIstributed Resources Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), has been recognized by multiple field-leading groups as a key figure in optics and photonics today. 

The professional society Optica (formerly OSA) – one of the largest in the field with 24,000 members,  elected Zorba as a Fellow in October 2023 “For seminal and pioneering contributions in ultrafast laser plasma physics and the development of innovative applied spectroscopy technologies”. Electro Optics magazine also recently named Zorba as one of its 2024 Photonics100 most innovative people in the industry. 

As further sign of her recognition, in January 2024, Zorba will be serving as a co-chair for the LASE symposium at the SPIE-Photonics West conference- in San Francisco, an event  that attracts more than 22,000 attendees yearly,

Zorba’s research focuses on the development of next-generation ultrafast laser plasma spectroscopies  and advanced laser-based manufacturing tools. She specializes in femtosecond laser-matter interactions, nonlinear optics, laser plasma chemistry, and remote sensing, for  applications in nuclear security and energy.

“Our group focuses on how we can improve our ability to analyze the chemical content of materials and make better materials using lasers and laser plasmas. A critical step towards accomplishing our goals is furthering our understanding of underlying fundamental processes,” said Zorba. “The technologies we develop have substantial impact because they serve a variety of applications in energy, advanced manufacturing, surface science, and nuclear non-proliferation. Moving forward we want to continue expanding on new applications with an emphasis on shortening the timeline of transitioning the technologies we develop to real-world applications.”

Zorba is author of 92 peer-reviewed publications and recipient of a 2011 R&D 100 Technology Award. She also serves as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, senior editor for the Springer-Nature journal Applied Physics A, and member of the editorial board for the Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, Applied Spectroscopy and Spectrochimica Acta Part B. Zorba is also an Associate Adjunct Professor at the Mechanical Engineering Department of UC Berkeley.


Dana D'Amico