Micro-Raman spectroscopy is an indispensible investigative tool for multicomponent analysis of non-transparent materials, quantitative speciation analysis in aqueous fluids to supercritical conditions, local mechanical stress analysis, and spectroscopic imaging of small sample domains. Photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy is invaluable for band gap determination in semiconductors and analysis of impurity levels, optically active centers and point defects in materials, whereas micro-PL is indispensible for resolution of small optically active domains. The acquisition of a combined micro-Raman and micro-PL system at Missouri State University will significantly enhance the scientific performance of faculty and students in several materials-related areas, including biomaterials and biodevices, hybrid biomolecular/inorganic nanomaterials, opto- and magneto-electronics, and materials under extreme environments. The micro-Raman-PL system will be used to investigate the following areas of research at Missouri State University: 1) nanomaterials and solutes in aqueous fluids to supercritical conditions for energy applications, 2) the optoelectronic properties of transparent conducting oxides for photovoltaic and light emitting diode applications, 3) biomolecular interactions between nucleic acids and proteins attached to nanomaterials, 4) lattice structures and hydrate forms of WO3 nano- and micro-crystallites, 5) structural properties of carbon nanotubes and graphene, 6) biomolecule-Co/Au-nanoparticle interactions, 7) functional surface modification of metal oxide nanoparticle (MONP)-biomolecule hybrid systems, and 8) ferroelectric domain dynamics in multiferroic thin films. The micro-Raman-PL system will also contribute greatly toward outreach and educational programs, broaden interdisciplinary cooperation between science departments at Missouri State University, and enhance collaborations with other institutions and high-tech industry.

Layman Summary: The advancement of materials-related technologies, such as for energy applications, nanotechnology, photonics, electronics, biotechnology, transportation, and for drug delivery systems and medical diagnostics, depends upon the fundamental understanding of the bonding, vibrational, structural, and other physico-chemical properties of the relevant materials. From interaction with light at the atomic level, Raman spectroscopy provides extremely valuable information about the vibrational properties, which are directly related to the bonding and structural properties, of a given material. Similarly, by stimulation from light, PL spectroscopy is able to provide information about the energetics of itinerant vs. bound electrons and impurities in semiconductors, and of the optical properties of point defects and active centers in materials. The state-of-the art micro-Raman-PL instrument requested in this proposal will provide an extremely valuable new research and teaching tool to complement an array of existing facilities and characterization tools utilized for investigation of a wide range of materials at Missouri State University. The utilization of a laser micro-beam probe with Raman or PL will provide for high-resolution imaging of optically active micro-regions, micro-crystallites, and ferroelectric domains in materials. The valuable training provided to students on the micro-Raman-PL instrument through work on research projects outlined in this proposal will be useful for their future employment in high-tech industry and research labs. The micro-Raman-PL system will contribute greatly toward outreach and educational programs targeting K-12 students for pursuit of careers in science and engineering. The micro-Raman-PL system will help stimulate collaboration among faculty and students within Missouri State University and enhance collaborations with other institutions.

Project Report

at Missouri State University. The acquisition of a micro-Raman and photoluminescence instrument has significantly enhanced the research capabilities of faculty and students in several materials-related areas. The instrument is being used to investigate the vibrational and optical properties of nano- and bio- materials, quantum dots, optoelectronic and magnetoelectronic devices, ferroelectrics, graphene, mesoporous sieve materials, and materials under extreme environments. Raman spectroscopy is being used to obtain vibrational data, which are directly linked to the bonding and structural properties of materials. Similarly, photoluminescence spectroscopy is being used to provide data on the optical properties of point defects, active centers and impurities in materials. The research being carried out using the instrument has potential uses in energy, optical, communication, biosensing, medical, imaging and many other applications. Education: The micro-Raman and photoluminescence instrument has been used to enhance the quality of research and educational programs at Missouri State University. Since the acquisition of the instrument, four students have completed their undergraduate research projects and seven MS graduate students have completed their MS theses. The work done by these students has resulted in publications in refereed journals and presentations in scientific meetings. Most of the students graduating with an MS degree have entered PhD graduate programs in materials science and related areas. The micro-Raman and photoluminescence instrument has become an integral part of a number of materials science and physics courses. The valuable training offered to our students on the micro-Raman and photoluminescence instrument is useful for their future employment in industry and in research and forensics laboratories. Demonstrations of the instrument have been given to several high school students who visited our department during last year.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Materials Research (DMR)
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Charles E. Bouldin
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Missouri State University
United States
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