Burke, Sarah


Assistant Professor

Condensed Matter / Experiment

Office Location

Department of Physics & Astronomy
Brimacombe 261-B
2355 East Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4

Lab Location

Brimacombe 48
2355 East Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4
Tel (lab): (604) 827-1418

Phone: (604) 822-8796
E-mail: saburke@phas.ubc.ca


Bachelors Degree Dalhousie University Honours in Physics (2002)
Masters Degree McGill University Physics (2004)
Doctoral Degree McGill University Physics (2009)

Employment History

2009 – 2010 Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley

2010 – Present Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia

Awards & Honours

2009 – 2010NSERC Post-doctoral Fellow

2010 – 2015CRC Tier 2 in Nanoscience

2015 - 2020CRC Tier 2 in Nanoscience

Research Interests

My group focuses on the application and advancement of scanning probe microscopy techniques. This highly versatile family of techniques can be applied to a wide range of materials, and that diversity is represented in our research activities.

We have a significant effort towards understanding and controlling organic materials for photovoltaic applications. As device concepts for these materials largely revolve around the use of interfaces to provide an energetic driving force for the separation of charges that can be collected as electrical power, we are examining model materials that give us insight into the energy level alignment and potential for charge separation. Looking at the molecular scale, we have found that energy levels change dramatically at interfaces (described in our 2015 Nature Comm) and depend significantly on the local geometry of the interface. We have also been applying self-assembly methods to control local structure for metal-organic dyes that are similar to those used in dye-sensitized solar cells.

We have also continued our collaborative efforts looking at graphene modified by adatom deposition (jointly with Bonn, Folk, and Damascelli), and correlated electron systems (Bonn, Damascelli).

In the past year we have worked on detailing potential artifiacts arising in an STM-based measurement technique, FT-STS or QPI, that is often applied to complex materials such as superconductors and topological insulators. This is currently submitted to a special topical collection on SPM in IOP Nanotechnology.

Research Website


2355 East Mall
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada
Tel: 604.822.3909
Fax: 604.822.4750