Group Leader: Gary Wiederrecht
The objective of our research is to control optical energy and its conversion on the nanometer scale by combining the properties
of metal, organic, semiconductor, and dielectric materials to create new, combined states of light and matter. To achieve these objectives, we are using a three-pronged approach
- Materials generation via synthesis and lithography,
- Optical instrumentation development for advanced characterization, and
- Rigorous numerical simulations.
- Controlled quantum coupling at the nanoscale: The ability to prepare coupled nanostructures presents the opportunity
to induce and control the interactions of photons, plasmons, and excitons, thereby producing new elementary excitations. Basic
science research on these excitations is performed, with application to many disciplines such as solar energy conversion,
nanoscale photonic devices, new photochemical processes, and quantum logic.
- Understanding ultrafast processes at ultrasmall length scales: The outcome of ultrafast processes can be very different
in nanoscale vs. bulk materials, with potentially great impact on the physical properties and photochemical products of the nanoscale
system. Research is performed to understand, optimize, and control these differences.
- New routes to functional nanophotonic materials: The group is pursuing the development of new optical materials via
- Advanced colloidal synthesis,
- Lithographically assisted synthesis, and
- New near-field optical lithography methods
to generate hybrid nanoscale structures over large areas.
- Efficient energy transport in plasmonic nanostructures: We are performing research to significantly improve
range of plasmon propagation,
- The spectral bandwidth that can be supported by plasmonic structures, and
- The minimum lateral
dimension of efficient plasmon propagation. The work will be the basis for wholly new, efficient solar concentrators or all optical