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Program Highlights for year 2012

Size Dependence of Multi-Exciton Generation

First principles modeling demonstrates  that the efficiency of Multi-Exciton Generation (MEG) increases as quantum dot size decreases resolving a major controversy.  The results were highly visible. 

Mechanical pressure can be used to resuscitate the beating “heart” of a polymer gel

Polymer gels undergoing a self-oscillating chemical reaction have been previously shown to pulsate autonomously while exhibiting periodic color changes. Van Vliet and Balazs have now demonstrated that a non-oscillating, quiescent gel can be “resuscitated” by applying mechanical pressure to the material. By varying the conditions of the reaction, the amplitude and

Folding sheets are a form of soliton

MRSEC scientists and collaborators have shown [1] that the localized buckling of a compressed thin sheet, important for molecular interfaces, [2] has the same mathematical origin

Sweeping out electrons with carbon nanotubes to achieve high efficiency solar cells

Luping Yu, Dmitri Talapin and collaborators from the University of Chicago MRSEC are working to develop highly efficient bulk heterojunction organic solar cells.  They have recently

Theoretical and Experimental Characterization of Structures of MnAu Nanoclusters

Highly-symmetrized MnAu nanoalloys may possess high magnetic moments for potential application. The magnetic properties of MnAu nanoclusters exhibit strong dependence on the cluster sizes and morphologies.

High-Sensitivity Detector for Molecular Sensing using Magnetic Particles

The detection of noxious gases or bio-agents is important for various environmental and security needs. High sensitivity, sufficient selectivity and molecular recognition are key characteristics for such sensing. Nebraska MRSEC researchers have developed a scheme for molecular sensing using magnetic tracer particles and a microcantilever torsional magnetometer.

Electric Field Control of Magnetization

To change the magnetization of a ferromagnet usually requires a magnetic field.  So, for example, if we put a compass needle into the high field of an MRI machine, we can no longer trust it to swivel to the North.  Similarly, the magnetic stripes on credit cards and key cards can be destroyed in high magnetic fields.  Electric fields don’t have the same effect on magnetic materials, which is ju

Organic Ferroelectric Photovoltaics

Photovoltaics is a method of converting solar radiation into electricity.  Some semiconducting materials exhibit a property known as the photoelectric effect that causes them to absorb light and release electrons. In addition to the semiconductors, ferroelectric materials have been employed to create ferroelectric-photovoltaic devices.