Doped nanomaterials for sensing
Synthesis of new doped nanomaterials allows exploration of new sensing mechanisms using dopant related properties. In the presence of an analyte, dopants may be reduced or oxidized changing the nanocrystal luminescence. The dopant can also act as a probe of the semiconductor surface. We are synthesizing new doped nanomaterials and studying their optical and redox properties to develop ratiometric reversible sensors for biological analytes.
New materials for efficient light harvesting and catalysis
Nanocrystals of III-V semiconductors absorb in the infrared and near-infrared and are thus attractive for solution processed solar cells. Using hybrid polymer-semiconductor nanocrystal composites as conductive “ink” engages the advantages of both organic and inorganic materials. Examination of energy and charge transfer processes affecting these organic-semiconductor systems can improve solar conversion and storage efficiencies, but the large variation in polymer-to-nanocrystal interactions make these systems difficult to study. We use organic-inorganic donor-acceptor systems as a platform to study and optimize energy and charge transfer on a molecular level.
Charge separation in semiconductor nanomaterials can be improved by formation of hetero- and asymmetric structures. Advancement of these materials requires reduction of variations in their size and composition. Through careful synthetic control we construct new materials composed of semiconductors, metals, and organic materials with unique, tailorable properties. Examination of how changes in their composition and morphology affect their electronic properties will aid in use of these materials in catalysis among other applications.