Welcome to the Nanoscale Materials and Systems Group! Our group focuses on synthesis of new nanomaterials, characterization of fundamental physical properties of these materials, and development of powerful new device structures and systems for applications in electronics, energy storage, biology, and medicine. Central to our vision is the capability to fabricate new nanomaterials and exploit their unique physical properties in novel concepts as well as to investigate fundamental questions and scientific challenges in interdisciplinary physics. Our current projects focus on emerging physical phenomena in three major research areas:

1.    Nanomaterials

The synthesis of new nanoscale materials with unique physical properties provide many opportunities for revolutionary advances in science and technology. Our group is active in the fabrication of the following nanomaterials:

  • 2D graphene layers and 3D assemblies of graphene sheets
  • silicon nanowires and nanocrystals
  • atomically thin dielectric films

We use different synthesis methods including chemical vapor deposition (CVD), plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD), atomic layer deposition (ALD), thermal evaporation and sputtering, hydrothermal synthesis, and a high-temperature furnace. An important part of our research is also the detailed characterization of the fabricated materials using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), Raman spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), X-ray diffraction (XRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and electron transport methods.

2.     Electronic sensors

Electronic sensors have the potential to provide fast, supersensitive and specific detection of minuscule amounts of chemical and biological species, which can lead to revolutionary technologies in medical diagnostics and environmental monitoring. The research activities of the group focus on the development of novel nanoelectronic sensors using graphene and silicon field-effect transistors (FETs). We investigate different sensor architectures and detection principles to achieve ultrasensitive and selective sensing of molecules (e.g. DNA) in different environments. In addition to the sensor development, we pursue fundamental studies of the underlying physics at the interface between nanomaterials and molecules using different experimental and theoretical methods. One of the key challenges is understanding of the key interactions between nanomaterials and molecules responsible for molecular selective detection. 

3.    Energy storage and harvesting

Our research is focused on elucidating the fundamental electrochemical and physical processes in novel battery and energy harvesting concepts. We fabricate and investigate different rechargeable battery systems using carbon and metal electrodes coupled to multivalent charge carrier ions and novel electrolyte chemistries that have the potential to deliver breakthroughs in energy density and power the future green economy.