This award is supported by the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) and the Chemistry Research Instrumentation (CRIF) Programs. Professor Tianquan Lian from Emory University and colleagues Brian Dyer, Hayk Harutyunyan, Eilaf Egap and Ajit Srivastava have acquired an ultrafast transient absorption spectrometer capable of acting on the femtosecond and nanosecond scales. This instrumentation may aid in studying materials used in the development of sustainable energy which is a "Grand Challenge" for science and technology in the 21st century. To meet this challenge, innovative basic research into new solar energy conversion concepts, materials and technologies is needed. This requires highly multidisciplinary research efforts that span the biological, chemical, physical and computational sciences. The successful development of advanced functional materials requires understanding of fundamental processes involved in the interconversion of light, electrical, and chemical energy in materials, catalysts (enzymes) and at their interfaces. Probing these fundamental processes requires advanced spectroscopic techniques with sufficient time, spectral and spatial resolution and tunability. The requested spectrometers and associated user facility provide this capability and greatly enhance solar energy research and training of postdoctoral fellows and undergraduate and graduate students at Emory and nearby institutions in the metro Atlanta and southeastern USA, including historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
The spectrometer enhances research and education at all levels. The instrument is used in a variety of investigations such as the examination of the giant oscillator strength transition effects in colloidal, two-dimensional cadmium chalcogenide nanoplatelets of relevance in energy research; studies of exciton dynamics in two-dimensional, transition metal dichalcogenide heterostructures; and the determination of mechanisms of light-driven hydrogen-generating reactions in nanocrystal/hydrogenase hybrid photocatalysis. The spectrometer is also used in investigating the mechanism of triplet Dexter energy transfer in quantum dot/conjugated polymer complexes and in studying the mechanism of plasmon-induced hot electron transfer at a metal/semiconductor interfaces.