Thomas Folland, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Prof. Folland is part of the Condensed Matter and Materials Physics research area at the University of Iowa Department of Physics and Astronomy, focusing on mid- and far-infrared nanophotonics and quantum materials research, from fundamental properties to device applications.

He started his faculty position at the University of Iowa in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in Fall 2020. At Iowa, Prof. Folland is working on developing infrared detectors and light sources leveraging nanophotonics, with the goal of coupling long wavelength light to quantum systems. His research interests are highly interdisciplinary, encompassing elements of physics, materials science, electrical engineering, and chemistry.

His graduate work involved the development of frequency tunable terahertz lasers, implemented using graphene plasmonics. After his doctoral work, he took a postdoc position in the lab of Prof. Joshua Caldwell in the school of Mechanical Engineering at Vanderbilt University. At Vanderbilt, he led the setup of the Caldwell lab and developed new approaches to infrared spectroscopy for the study of nanophotonics systems, including 2D materials and semiconductors.

Outside the lab, Prof. Folland is an active member of the MRS Early Career Subcommittee, where he has been involved in developing career development programming for doctoral and post-doctoral researchers. He is also enjoying, cycling, hiking, and the odd bit of rock climbing and skiing.

  • Optical properties of wide band gap semiconductors, charge density wave materials, and 2D materials
  • Surface polaritons and bulk polaritons in nanostructured materials
  • Infrared light detection and generation
  • Collaboration with both national and international researchers at universities and national labs to access specialized resources and facilities
  • Students work on infrared, transient, and low-temperature spectroscopy and microscopy
  • Students fabricate semiconductor and 2D material devices
  • Students also have the opportunity to work with electromagnetic computational tools
Research areas
  • Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
  • Optics and Photonics
  • Quantum Information
Thomas Folland 2
Ph.D., University of Manchester, 2017
Contact Information

124 Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratories (IATL)
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States


194 Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratories (IATL)
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States