Quantum Dots for New Materials

Quantum dots are very small semiconductor particles with unique electronic and optical properties. They’re also highly tunable—making them intriguing building blocks for materials that might be used to advance a wide range of applications, from solar cells to medical imaging to quantum computing.

Tobias Hanrath, Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Cornell collaborators are developing new fabrication techniques to create single crystal quantum dot solids (QDS) with programmable symmetry and composition. Access to superstructures with programmable symmetry would open new opportunities not only to create materials with properties by design but also to investigate how they form. However, progress in this emerging class of materials depends critically on removing outstanding synthesis and processing roadblocks.

Fabrication methods that are currently available yield polycrystalline quantum dot solids with limited grain size. Furthermore, the basic kinetic and thermodynamic factors governing the interplay of self-assembly and directed attachment are poorly understood. Hanrath, with Paulette Clancy, Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Lena F. Kourkoutis, Applied and Engineering Physics, is leveraging access to and experience with unique, multiprobe characterization techniques to gain deep insights into the fundamental relationship between processing conditions, self-assembly, and growth of QDS.

The program integrates computational modeling and experiment to probe the underlying physical phenomena and to guide development of optimized processing methods. The project will push the ability to fabricate systems with increasing complexity in structure and composition and will likely spur additional advances in the synthesis and processing of two-dimensional QDS as well as in understanding their unique electronic properties.

Cornell Researchers

Funding Received

$610 Thousand spanning 3 years