PhD defence: From atoms to photons - Formation and photophysical properties of nanomaterials


Light, which can be seen as radiation in the form of photons, is crucial for life on Earth.  It serves a multitude of functions, including providing warmth, supporting plant growth, regulating our day-night cycle, and enabling vision. The sun has long been our primary light source, but in the modern world, artificial light is indispensable for illumination, and communication and various other activities. The transformation to artificial light has been made possible by advances in material synthesis: artificial light sources consist of photoactive materials which are synthesized using atoms as building blocks. 

Photoactive nanomaterials, with dimensions range from 1 to 100 nanometres, exhibit unique photophysical properties. For example, nanocrystalline quantum dots offer a tuneable optical transition by simply changing the nanocrystal size. This revolutionises technology like QLED TVs. Initially, the synthesis of these materials was often a matter of trial and error, or good fortune. By combining the right atoms under the right physicochemical conditions, nanocrystals can by optimized for light emission. Our understanding of nanocrystal growth is ever expanding, enabling us to design and synthesize materials on a more rational basis.

This thesis discusses the formation of photoactive nanomaterials, with a particular focus on CdSe quantum dots, CdSe nanoplatelets, and insulator NaYF4 nanocrystals doped with photoactive lanthanide ions. It also explores the fundamentals of photon absorption by semiconductor (nano)materials and the rapid relaxation processes following photon absorption, which are essential in solar panel efficiency.

In summary, this thesis provides a comprehensive exploration of the formation and properties of photoactive nanomaterials, shedding light on their unique characteristics and potential applications in various fields.

Start date and time
End date and time
Academiegebouw, Domplein 29 & online (livestream link)
PhD candidate
P.T. Prins
From atoms to photons - Formation and photophysical properties of nanomaterials
PhD supervisor(s)
prof. dr. D.A.M. Vanmaekelbergh
prof. dr. W.G.J.H.M. van Sark
dr. C. de Mello-Donega