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The central theme of our work is light-matter interactions in organic materials. We harness these in ultrafast laser spectroscopy to explore the fundamental properties of organic semiconductors, biomolecules and dyes, informing the design of next-generation solar cells and LEDs. We also seek to exploit light-matter interactions to alter the properties of organic materials at will, with applications from catalysis to quantum computing.
- Chemistry and Chemical Biology
We use advanced optical spectroscopy techniques to track, understand and manipulate the functional properties of complex organic materials. Projects range from fundamental investigation of light-matter interactions to optimising material processing for high-efficiency light-emitting devices. Using a suite of ultrafast laser spectroscopies, we pursue research in four broad streams:
1) Molecular movies. Using cutting-edge vibrational spectroscopy techniques, we explore the behaviour of non-Born-Oppenheimer dynamics, where ultrafast electronic processes are intimately linked to and driven by nuclear vibrations.
2) Triplet dynamics. We use the full electronic spectroscopy toolbox to unravel the often-murky mechanisms through which ‘dark’ triplet states are formed and decay in organic materials. These include processes such as singlet fission and thermally activated delayed fluorescence, both with enormous technological potential. Together with synthetic chemists, we seek to extract structure-property relationships that will lead to better molecules and more efficient devices.
3) Light-enhanced materials. We use organic materials to form ‘polaritons’ – hybrid states formed by the strong interaction of light and an absorbing material. These states can radically restructure the potential energy landscape, with suggested applications from catalysis to solar cells. We’re developing approaches to understand how these states alter electronic dynamics and thus functional properties.
4) Room-temperature quantum information. Polaritons can form macroscopic Bose-Einstein condensates, with applications from low-threshold lasers to quantum computing. Using organic materials, such condensates can even be attained at room temperature. We seek to understand the materials properties that enable polariton condensation, building towards room-temperature and electrically injected quantum devices.