New Seed Grants Awarded to Further Efforts on NSF RII Track I Project

Broadband Photodetector based on 2D Hybrid Heterostructures Functionalized by Photosensitive Molecules

Dr. Nihar R. Pradhan, Jackson State University

Low-dimensional semiconducting nanomaterials such as zerodimensional (0D) nanoparticles or quantum dots, two-dimensional (2D) crystals possess excellent electrical, optical, chemical, and mechanical properties due to the quantum confinement effect, large surface-to-volume ratio, strong light-matter interactions particularly in 2D materials. Further, these low-dimensional materials have unique ability to be integrated among each other via van der Waals forces to build complex heterostructures with emerging physics. In this project, we will leverage such van der Waals-based integration tool to design planar 2D/2D and 2D/molecular heterostructure based electro-optic devices for potential technological applications in broadband photodetectors operating in the range of visible to infrared.

Developing NIR-Dye-Based Hybrid Artificial Photosynthetic Systems

Dr. Saumen Chakraborty, University of Mississippi

Building on our success and expertise in this area, the overall goal of this CEMOs seed grant application is to develop hybrid AP systems where NIR-absorbing dyes are employed as PS. Literature on NIR-dye-based AP systems are scarce. A fundamental understanding of the underlying photophysical processes, the timescales, and mechanisms across hybrid organic-bio-inorganic interfaces will generate new knowledge towards the development of a novel class of photosynthetic water splitting systems.

Enhancing Charge Mobility of Conjugated Polymer Films Through Rapid Solvent Annealing with Shear Alignment

Dr. Zhe Qiang, The University of Southern Mississippi

Dr. Denise Thibodeaux, Copiah-Lincoln Community College

Building upon previous successes, this research proposal aims to further develop and strengthen our pioneering DIA technology for enabling the rapid alignment of conjugated donor-acceptor polymers through the assistance of shear force. It is hypothesized that shearing solvent-swollen OSC films using elastomeric pad will lead to aligned microstructures, and thus facilitate charge transport to enhance their OFET device performance. The morphology evolution in these conjugated polymer thin films will be revealed and paired with changes in their properties such as electrical conductivity, hole mobility, and field-effect transistor output. These relations will rationalize the design of our solvent annealing with shear methods for aligning OSC films with controllable performance. Furthermore, this linked proposal will support two undergraduate students from Copiah-Lincoln Community College as research assistants. Collectively, successful completion of this proposal will not only enable an efficient method for improving OSC properties and performance by aligning their microstructures, but also inspire and encourage more students to participate STEM research in the state of Mississippi (MS).

Light-Driven Adsorption/Desorption/Surface Activation of C1 Molecules on Plasmonic NPs@MOF Nanohybrid<

Dr. Yizhi Xiang, Mississippi State University

The overarching objective of this seed proposal is to elucidate the relationships between the chemical properties of the plasmonic NPs@MOF nanohybrid and the kinetic behaviors of adsorption, desorption, and surface activation of the C1 molecules under visible light irritation. Specifically, we will identify the effect of the plasmonic NPs’ size and location (in/on MOF) on the surface plasmon resonance under visible lights with different wavelengths, and demonstrate their influence on the surface interaction with a C1 molecule. The central hypothesis is that the bandgap energy and the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) that originated from the electrons’ oscillation on the plasmonic NPs surface dependent highly upon the chemical properties of the NPs@MOF nanohybrid, which are the key parameters affecting the adsorption, desorption, and surface activation of the C1 molecules under visible light. We suggest that this vitally important kinetic information related to the photocatalytic transformation of C1 molecules can be obtained through the combination of transient kinetic analysis and in-situ/operando spectroscopies characterizations.