In the Schaller Group, we aim to understand the physical laws that determine the limits of material performance for energy-relevant applications and develop predictive capabilities regarding the potential performance of novel material compositions. We focus on investigating the optical and thermal properties of colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals, also known as ‘quantum dots’. These 0-dimensional materials offer unprecedented control of material properties, high photostability, excellent quantum yields, and size-tunable band gaps, inviting applications as light sources and energy harvesting materials. Their unique properties present a variety of new opportunities and challenges with respect to the development of robust, designer materials as well as fundamental nanoscale physics.
We harness a variety of spectroscopic characterization techniques including ultrafast pump-probe spectroscopy, ultrafast photoluminescence spectroscopy, cathodoluminescence techniques, and synchrotron X-ray experiments. We work in close collaboration with experimental and theoretical researchers at Argonne National Laboratory, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and other institutions both in the US and abroad. For some more targeted examples of our work, see the extended descriptions of some past and ongoing research efforts in the group, linked below: