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Quantum and Energy Materials

We design and study atomic-scale to meso-scale materials with implications for energy, the environment and coherent information transfer and sensing.

The Quantum and Energy Materials (QEM) group seeks to take control of materials at the atomic and molecular scale to better understand and utilize their behavior and properties. By doing so, we aim to pave the way for breakthroughs in new energy conversion and power-efficient energy technologies.

QEM research comprises several key areas including low-dimensional materials such as graphene and heterostructures formed by stacked two-dimensional materials, next-generation photovoltaics, polymer molecular engineering, hybrid magnetic nanoparticles, molecular self-assembly, single molecule studies on surfaces, atomic scale investigations of structural, electronic, magnetic and optical properties of nanostructured surfaces, and atomic and molecular manipulation.  

Investigation of nanoscale phenomena often requires experimental approaches that extend beyond conventional techniques. QEM exploits highly advanced instrumentation such as ultrahigh vacuum scanning probe microscopies, single particle laser spectroscopy, molecular beam epitaxy and novel approaches for hybrid, organic and nanoparticle materials synthesis.

Research activities include:

  • Low-dimensional materials synthesis and characterization
  • Tailoring interactions at the nanoscale
  • Hybrid nanoparticles and nanomaterials for energy applications
  • Novel hybrid organic solar cells
  • Molecular electronic and spintronic devices
  • Atomistic investigations of engineered interfaces
  • Nanomechanics of nanofabricated and self-assembled systems


  • Omicron VT-AFM/STM, Omicron Cryo SFM, LT-STM/q+AFM, Createc, and UHV VT-STM with optical access
  • Synchrotron X-ray scanning tunneling microscopy at APS Sector 4 (XTIP)
  • Physical vapor deposition (Lesker CMS 18 and PVD 250)
  • Photovoltaics suite: integrated glovebox system, solar simulator, QEMS
  • Colloidal chemistry and self-assembly techniques
  • SPM Veeco MultiMode 8
  • Rheo-SAXS-XPCS
  • Lakeshore probe station

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