Nanoscale Systems for Optical, Electro-Optic, and Spintronic Applications
Understanding and leveraging light-matter interactions, broadly defined as the generation and decay of a material’s photo-excited states, is key to progress in many optical and optoelectronic technologies that include optical sensors, photovoltaics, and spintronics. As the size of a material is reduced to the low-dimensional regime, where an electron’s degrees of freedom are limited, distinct optical and electronic properties begin to emerge. To realize optimized properties at the macroscale it is necessary to understand how these properties present at the nano- and mesoscale.This work designs, synthesizes, and characterizes novel functional materials and assemblies based on : i) semiconducting polymers coupled with metallic single-walled carbon nanotubes (m-SWNTs) and semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes (s-SWNT), ii) ethyne bridged zinc (II) porphyrin arrays covalently linked to polypeptides, and iii) lanthanide doped nanocrystals. While these three systems are uniquely different, they share the common theme of this work in that small deliberate changes to their composition or morphology can have a drastic impact on their photophysical and electronic properties. We exploit these unique designs to develop exceptional optical, electro-optic, and spintronic materials, and elucidate critical structure-property relationships that broadly inform materials design for these applications.
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