Nobel Laureate Abel Laureate Advisory Board Member USERN President USERN Policy Making Council USERN Manager USERN Deputy Junior Ambassador

Major: Physics

Field: Physics of materials


Rue du Centre 91, Saint-Sulpice 1025 (Switzerland)

+41 77 212 74 16 – mira.dimitrievska@gmail.com 

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Materials Scientist (PhD in Physics), explorer of synthesis-structure-function relationships for design and optimization of functional materials (photovoltaics, solid-state batteries, hydrogen storage):

  • Proven expertise in material characterization (expert in Raman, photoluminescence and neutron spectroscopy)
  • Extensive experimental research background in multidisciplinary and diverse work environments in laboratories around the world
  • Effective and efficient project management with prolific and high quality technical output, leading teams of up to 5 scientists, engineers, and technicians
  • Highly visible technical expert with strong communication skills: 63 articles, 36 as first-last-corresponding author (citations: >2200, h-index: 29), and presenter at >30 scientific meetings
  • Promoter of science to children: workshop organization (children age 8-15 years)  and preparation of coloring books (children age < 8 years)




GENDER: Female

MARTIAL STATUS: Married, 2 children

LANGUAGES: English (fluent), French (basic), Spanish (basic), Serbian (native)


2013 – 2015 PhD in Physics (summa cum laude) 

Faculty of Physics, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Thesis: “Structural and vibrational properties of kesterite Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4 thin films”; Advisors: Alejandro Perez-Rodriguez and Victor Izquierdo-Roca

2010 – 2011 MSc in Physics (GPA = 10.0/10.0) (ranked first among the graduates)

Faculty of Physics, University of Novi Sad, Novi Sad, Serbia

Thesis: “Application of Raman spectroscopy for structural investigation of chalcogenide glasses”; Advisor: Svetlana Lukic-Petrovic

2006 – 2011 BSc in Physics (GPA = 10.0/10.0) (ranked first among the graduates)

Faculty of Physics, University of Novi Sad, Novi Sad, Serbia

2014 – 2015 Certification in Entrepreneurship / Business creation in the photovoltaics industry

ESADE Business School, Barcelona, Spain


2020 – Project Leader

EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) Lausanne, Switzerland

  • Leader of the spectroscopic characterization team (5 people): Raman and photoluminescence of nano- and semiconductor materials
  • Principle Investigator of MSCA project SMARTCELL – Sustainable Materials for Development of Advanced Renewable Technologies for Next Generation Solar Cells (budget: 350 000 CHF)

2016 – 2019 Scientist (dual assignment)

NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) Golden, Colorado, USA

  • Work package leader of neutron characterization techniques for hydrogen storage materials (HyScore project: Hydrogen Storage Characterization Optimization Research Effort)
  • Management of multiple experimental and modeling collaborations with US Department of Energy (DOE) core national laboratories

2016 –  2019 Scientist (dual assignment)

NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA

  • Design and development of novel superionic-conducting materials for all solid-state battery applications
  • Expert-level proficiency of various neutron-based characterization tools, heavily involved in instrument installation and consultation as instrument scientist for guest researchers
  • Project and strategic planning of neutrons scattering experiments for external users 

2013 – 2016 Marie Curie Research Fellow

IREC (Institut de Recerca en Energia de Catalunya) Sant Adrià de Besòs, Spain

  • Development of high efficiency kesterite-based solar cells  in MSCA ITN project KESTCELLS
  • Fine-tuning of materials properties through factorial and combinatorial studies; design and development of Raman-based characterization techniques for phase detection and defect identification


2015 Visiting Scientist ABENGOA Solar Seville, Spain 

2015 Visiting Scientist University of Bath Bath, United Kingdom

2014 Visiting Scientist UAM (Autonomous University of Madrid) Madrid, Spain

2013 – 2014  Visiting Scientist HZB (Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin) Berlin, Germany

2010 – 2013  Research Assistant University of Novi Sad Novi Sad, Serbia


2021 – 2024 SMARTCELL - Sustainable Materials for Development of Advanced Renewable Technologies for Next Generation Solar Cells (MSCA Individual Fellowship (id: 101022257)) 

Budget: 350 000 chf

2021 Award for women scientist performing outstanding research – Zonta Prix

Zonta Switzerland & Lichtenstein (Switzerland); Award: 30 000 chf

2020 Latsis symposium organization, Lastis foundation (Switzerland); Budget: 40 000 chf


2020 – Teaching assistant: EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), Switzerland

Course: Introduction to crystal growth by epitaxy (MSc and PhD level, ETCS 2)

2010 – 2013 Teaching assistant: Department of Physics, University of Novi Sad, Novi Sad, Serbia

Courses: Solid State Physics (BSc level, ETCS 7), Condensed Matter Physics (BSc level, ETCS 7), Transport Processes in Condensed Systems (MSc level, ECTS 8), Introduction to Physics of Nanomaterials (MSc level, ECTS 7)


2021 Principal organizer of symposium on Earth-Abundant EPFL, Laussane, Switzerland

Materials for Future Photovoltaics (SeeFuturePV)

2020 – Editorial board member and Guest editor Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells

2019 – Editorial board member Molecules

2019 – Expert project evaluator US Department of Energy (DOE)

2013 – Expert peer reviewer for journals Chemistry of Materials, Journal of 

Materials Chemistry A, JACS, Applied Physics Letters, …

2015 – Principal organizer of workshop series “Dancing with IREC, Barcelona, Spain

Molecules” for 7 to 12 year olds

2013 Organizer for 5th European Kesterite Workshop HZB, Berlin, Germany


2021 Zonta Prix for female scientist performing outstanding research Zonta Foundation

2017 Most outstanding PhD thesis (Premi Extraordinari) University of Barcelona

2017 Best poster award Sigma XI Research Society

2015 Recognition for one of the most cited papers in 2014 Applied Physics Letters

2013 – 2016 Marie Curie PhD Fellowship (FP7-PEOPLE-2012-ITN-316488) European Union’s FP7 Project

2011 Award for the best student of Faculty of Science University of Novi Sad

2010 Robert Bosch Foundation Award for talented students Robert Bosch Foundation

2004 – 2013 Fellowship for talented young researchers Ministry of Science and 

Education of Republic Serbia

2001 – 2006 1st (three times), 2nd (one time), and 3rd (one time) place in  Serbian State Physics 

Serbian State Physics Competitions Competitions

Interests and hobbies

I am a semi-professional volleyball player and an amateur pastry chef. I love inventing new cake and pastry recipes, and enjoy decorating them. My favorite activity is baking with my children.


  1. 1. New class of earth-abundant absorbers for solar cells

Kesterite (Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4) semiconductors are promising earth-abundant, low-cost absorber candidates for next generation thin film photovoltaics. However, the highest efficiency devices are obtained under non-stoichiometric conditions that favor formation of secondary phases and defects, which further limit the device performance. I have significantly advanced technological development of these materials by:

  1. 1. Measuring and analyzing a first complete reference Raman spectra of kesterite (Cu2ZnSnS4) with six different laser excitations covering regular and resonant conditions. This crucial achievement has allowed fast, non-destructive and precise discernment between kesterite and other phases, assessment of crystal quality, and defect identification, all of which are essential for building high efficiency solar cells. The impact of this finding on the scientific community is seen through its citation record, with more than 250 citations since publication in 2014 (M. Dimitrievska, Appl. Phys. Lett., 104, 021901 (2014)). 
  2. 2. Design and development of a characterization method for nanoscale detection of ZnS and ZnSe phases within the kesterite by using resonant Raman scattering. The presence of ZnS and ZnSe, especially on the surface of the kestrite layer, has detrimental effects on the device performance, which is why the capability for selective detection is of uttermost importance. Additionally, detection with other techniques (X-ray based) is very challenging due to the similarity in the structures, particularly at the nanoscale. This finding has played a crucial role in developing chemical procedures for selective removal of ZnS and ZnSe from the kesterite surface, which directly impacted the performance of devices, and resulted in doubling of the conversion efficiency. 
  3. 3. Development of a Raman-based technique for non-destructive defect assessment in kesterites by using factorial and combinatorial studies. This enabled defect engineering in kesterites through compositional optimization, and allowed tailoring of optoelectronic properties for best device performance.

All above mentioned achievements have substantially advanced understanding of structure-function relationships in kesterites. Along with device optimization, this resulted in increasing of solar cell efficiencies from 4 to 11 % in our laboratory and achievement of a European record for these materials. These findings have led to production of more than 30 coauthored publications (12 as first author) with over 1200 citations.

  1. 2. Superionic conductivity of lithium and sodium solid electrolytes for all-solid-state batteries 

Poly borate salts exhibit unusually high ionic conductivities, making them appealing as electrolytes in all-solid-state batteries. However, this desirable conductivity often requires higher than ambient temperatures, which is a key challenge for further application. I have found a breakthrough solution to understanding the physics behind this superionic conductivity by using neutron scattering measurements, which consequently resulted in the reduction of the operating temperature to real-world application relevant conditions. The key finding was that the anions reorient themselves rapidly, spinning around in the solid matrix, which facilitates the cation diffusion. A direct correlation between the speed of reorientation and ionic conductivity was found, giving insight into how structural modifications of the material could generate further improvements. In this regard, I have enhanced the performance of these compounds through chemical modifications (i.e. replacing certain atoms, infiltration into pores), which resulted in a multifold increase in the conductivity at ambient temperatures. These findings exemplify an important advancement in this field and give a practical strategy for creating tailored, ambient-temperature, superionic conductors for a variety of emerging all-solid-state energy devices. This work has resulted in 14 coauthored publications (10 as first or corresponding author).

  1. 3. Outreach and promotion of science to children and young adults

In an era when technical and scientific skills are increasingly important in the work force, exposing children to science in the early years is key. I think that encouraging children’s curiosity and providing them with opportunity to learn about science through play is a strong base for creating the innovators of the future in our society. This is why I have been dedicating time to promoting science to children and young adults throughout my career. During my PhD, I have organized a series of workshops entitled “Dancing with molecules.” The workshops were aimed at children from 7 – 12 years old, with the main goal of introducing the physics of molecular vibrations, as well as general information about atoms and molecules. The basic principle was to compare the vibrations of atoms within the molecules with different types of dances, and to encourage children to dance along and try to investigate what kind of properties can be deducted from molecular vibrations or dancing. The workshops were organized in a fun and engaging way, where children were asked to and encouraged to actively participate. More than 300 children have actively participated in the workshops. I have continued with these kinds of activities during my post doc in USA, where I have been actively involved in organizing activities for “Take our daughters and sons to work day” events. Currently, at EPFL in Switzerland, I am also trying to actively promote science to kindergarten and younger aged children, by organizing workshops and preparing coloring books which describe and explain basic science principles. 



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