Investigation of single nanoparticle properties by scanning probe microscopy and Raman spectroscopy
This project consists of two parts: the synthesis of a variety of nanoparticles using a technique we have developed recently, and the study of individual nanoparticles to examine their properties and polydispersity. Both parts carry major challenges and present unique opportunities for research. The eventual goal of our program is to be able to design nanomaterials with desirable properties in a controlled manner.
This project in itself is about fundamental studies of nanoparticle properties, and how such studies can be carried out using novel techniques. However, these nanoparticles are the base for applications covering a broad range of areas, and our group has collaborations with a number of groups in physics and engineering, as well as with company partners. We have regular contact with these other scientists to enable us to target our focus on relevant materials, and to exploit them if possible.
This work is designed so that student can be involved in the whole project, learning a large variety of topics, from making nanoparticles, to purifying and characterizing them, with standard techniques and then in the scanning probe microscopy and spectroscopy experiments. However, depending on his/her interests, the concentration of the work can be more on one side vs the other. The project is facilitated by the group organization, in which there are senior scientists working on the various aspects, who will provide needed training in various equipment and techniques, and can guide students in their project as needed. While a number of people may work together in the overall project, the student will have responsibility on a specific area, which he can choose from among the following: magnetic nanoparticles, transition metal oxides with interesting conducting properties, nanoparticles with potential for photocatalysis and potential light emitters. Aside from the experimental work, the student will learn fundamental issues regarding material properties at the nanoscale. The student will also engage with companies interested in nanomaterials, including Vive Nano and Lunanos, and will be exposed to opportunities in technology-based entrepreneurship.