Our research goal is to use optical methods to understand and control the dynamics of energy flow on the nanometer scale. Control over photoinduced energy flow underlies a wide range of future nanotechnologies, including the conversion of sunlight into useful energy, detection of biomolecules, and nanoscale photonics. In all these applications, nanoparticles absorb energy from incoming light and then transform it, on ultrafast time scales, into a different form of energy: electrical current, mechanical motion, or an altered optical signal. In my lab, we study how the dynamics of these processes depend on the size, shape, composition, and arrangement of the nanoparticles, using ultrafast laser spectroscopy and single-particle optical microscopy. As well as enabling new technologies, this research provides insight into physics at the nanoscale, where collective, macroscopic properties begin to emerge from microscopic structure and interactions.
Student researchers wanted! If you are an undergraduate or graduate student interested in working on a research project in the group, please contact Dr. Pelton.