Fall Physics Colloquium- A Soft Matter Approach to Nanophotonics: Creating Optical Nanostructures with Polymer Building Blocks

Dr. Stacy Copp, University California - Irvine

Abstract: A defining property of soft matter is the self-assembly of complex structures programmed by interactions among individual components. Biology has mastered self-assembly to form materials that create or manipulate light, from a firefly's nanostructured abdomen to the light harvesting antennae of photosynthetic organisms. This property can also be harnessed for a “bottom-up” approach to man-made photonic materials. I will discuss how we are using polymer building blocks to create two classes of optical materials, as well as our efforts to understand the fundamental properties of these materials. Few-atom silver clusters exhibiting high quantum yield fluorescence can be stabilized using the biopolymer DNA.  While promising for applications from biosensing to nanophotonics, many properties of these clusters remain poorly understood. We are combining high throughput experiments with machine learning tools to better understand the process by which DNA sequence selects cluster size and color and the process that leads to photoemission.  Next, I will discuss photonic materials templated by synthetic block copolymers. Block copolymers can guide the assembly of optically active nanoparticles and molecules into ordered structures. A better understanding of this process may allow researchers to tune the interactions among these photonic elements.  We are studying how block copolymers direct the assembly of colloidal quantum dots into ordered arrays inside polymer nanostructures, with surprising long-range ordering in certain cases. 
** Refreshments served from 2:45pm – 3:00pm in PAS 218.  Thank you. ** 


3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 8, 2019


PAS 224