Self-Assembly for New Plasmonic Materials

ChEMS Seminar

Dr. Andrea Tao

Assistant Professor

NanoEngineering Department

University of California, San Diego


A critical need in nanotechnology is the development of new tools and methods to organize, connect, and integrate solid-state nanocomponents. Self-assembly – where components spontaneously organize themselves – can be carried out on a massively parallel scale to construct large-scale architectures using solid-state nanocrystal building blocks. I will present our recent work on the synthesis and self-assembly of nanocrystals for plasmonics, where light is propagated, manipulated, and confined by solid-state components that are smaller than the wavelength of light itself. We show the organization of polymer-grafted metal nanocrystals into hierarchical nanojunction arrays that possess intense “hot spots” due to electromagnetic field localization. We also show that doped semiconductor nanocrystals can serve as a new class of plasmonic building blocks, where shape and carrier density can be actively tuned to engineer plasmon resonances. These examples demonstrate that nanocrystals possess unique electromagnetic properties that rival top-down structures, and the potential of self-assembly for fabricating designer plasmonic materials.



Andrea Tao is an Assistant Professor in the NanoEngineering Department at the University of California, San Diego. She earned her baccalaureate in Chemistry and Physics from Harvard University in 2002, and her doctoral degree in Chemistry from UC Berkeley in 2007 exploring the self-assembly of inorganic nanoparticles. Prior to joining UCSD in 2009, Andrea spent two years as a UC President’s Post-Doctoral Fellow at UC Santa Barbara uncovering new biological self-assembling systems in the optical proteins of octopus and squid. Currently, her research group focuses on the discovery and development of rational chemical frameworks for engineering solid-state nanomaterials.