Our research program focuses on the molecular-level elucidation of dynamic processes and structural characteristics underlying functional interfaces through direct spectral measurements of chemical bonds and molecular interactions at the complex surfaces of nanostructures and porous materials. Our interests include the discovery of novel materials for energy, health and the environment, and the use of nonlinear laser spectroscopy and microscopy to unravel key processes in condensed-phase interfaces.
We integrate recent discoveries in lower-dimensional materials and environmental surface science with interface-selective ultrafast nonlinear optical techniques in order to gain detailed quantitative knowledge of the dynamic couplings between the surface electronic states and the molecular degrees of freedom in lower-dimensional and nano-scale environments. We are developing novel ways to provide in-situ measurements of the interfacial properties of organic and organic/inorganic composites by characterizing the surface electronic states, interfacial chemical identity, molecular orientation, binding, and electrochemical environment.
Our studies also examine how the energy of an absorbed photon is transferred within different chemical groups of a surface molecule, among neighboring molecules, or to the interface where it can give raise to mobile carriers. Of special interest to our program is the effect that lattice and molecular vibrations, point defects, and adsorbates have in the outcomes of surface chemical reactions and interfacial charge and energy transfer processes.