Light emitting diodes (LEDs) and many solar cells are made of semiconducting materials that must be electronically doped to make materials n-type, containing extra electrons, or p-type, containing extra holes. Electronic doping of semiconducting materials on the nanoscale has been challenging because doping techniques have focused on adding charges synthetically or have required harsh chemicals that permanently alter the nanocrystals. These challenges have hindered the scientific community’s understanding of how extra charges behave in these materials and, consequently, the performance of semiconductor nanocrystals in devices. I am interested in understanding the process of making semiconductor nanocrystals n-type post-synthetically using photochemical doping, where the nanocrystals are reduced using light and a chemical reductant. In my research I will study the kinetics of photochemically doping CdSe/CdS core/shell nanocrystals in order to understand the electron transfer process that establishes the n-type character of these nanocrystals, and I will subsequently investigate the photophysical properties that manifest in these n-type nanocrystals. This research project is a part of my larger career goal of contributing to the development of cleaner, cheaper, and more efficient energy production and consumption throughout society.
Advisor: Daniel Gamelin, Chemistry