The design of plasmonic nanoparticles (PNP) is an active area of research in large part due to its exciting potential in solar cells and photocatalysis applications. The performance of these systems can be engineered by controlling the composition, morphology, and arrangement of PNP’s. The goal of my research is to better understand how organic molecules affect the PNP synthesis process when presented in the solution vs. constrained to an interface. Specifically, I am using the liquid-liquid interface of emulsions to perform high throughput combinatorial PNP syntheses in mild conditions. Constraining growth to an interface may inherently produce PNPs with features like high specific surface area and branching, which are desirable for photocatalysis. Moreover, green approaches to materials design are particularly attractive in clean energy applications. Ultimately, I am to both improve fundamental understanding of factors that determine PNP morphology, and to use experimental results as input to an algorithm that suggests new experimental conditions.
Advisor: Lilo Pozzo – Chemical Engineering