Argonne National Laboratory

Engineering Defects, 2D Materials and Nanoparticles

Engineering Defects, 2D Materials and Nanoparticles

Scientists at the Center for Nanoscale Materials are exploring ways to synthesize new forms of functional materials at the nanoscale and understand the correlations between these local structures and desired functioning. We seek to engineer defects with atomic precision in nanoparticles and two-dimensional nanomaterials with a view to understanding their role in charge and energy transfer as well as their prospects for quantum science.

Because defects play a critical role in the properties and behavior of nanostructures due to their small size, a detailed understanding of their influence is critical to nanoscience and developing nanotechnologies. And while defects are often viewed as something negative, control over the type and concentration of defects provides a powerful platform to design advanced materials. For example, catalytic and photocatalytic activity on nanostructures and surfaces often hinge on the physical and electronic structure of defects. Some of the most promising avenues for single photon sources and engineering spin-photon quantum interactions rely on optically active defects in wide-bandgap semiconductors. 

Our long-term goal is to design nanoscale materials with atomic precision and to be able to enhance or create the desired functionality by generating the defects in nanoparticles and two-dimentional materials. Critical to the success of this effort is the generation of various types of defects, the measurement of the properties and functioning of defect structures, the correlation of these properties with atomic-scale structural understanding and closing the circle with theoretical understanding of material behavior from first-principles calculations.

The close collaboration between chemists, physicists, materials scientists and computational scientists is a key to success for synthesis and defect engineering program at the Center for Nanoscale Materials.