Research

Our current research interests and directions include:

I. Exploring the primary energy transfer and charge-transfer steps in DNA

The ultraviolet component of the solar spectrum is capable of inducing damage in DNA, the genetic code of life essential for cell growth, development and function. Key questions surround the primary photo-protection mechanisms of DNA include the extent of excited state delocalisation in model DNA systems, and how this prepares molecules for fast non-radiative relaxation. If excited states live for picoseconds, charge-transfer states can be accessed, generating electrons and holes that can destroy the genetic code via oxidative damage. If charge-transfer is initiated, how far do the ensuing electron and hole particles migrate?

II. Elucidating excitation transport mechanisms in photo-voltaic materials

BHJ picture

With increasing global energy demands, the efficient capture and storage of solar energy using low-cost, reliable photovoltaics (PVs) is of paramount importance to society. The mechanism underpinning the initial steps of PV photocurrent generation  and how they mediate efficient charge-separation are still highly debated. 2D electronic spectroscopy is the premier tool to answer these questions.

 

III. Nanoscale design principles of natural and artificial light harvesting systems

The general macroscopic principles that underlie the near unity efficiency of natural light harvesting are becoming more apparent, and provide inspiration for artificial solar devices. To date, these studies have limited spatial resolutions (typically > 20 μm), that limits our understanding of how the spatial arrangement of molecules on a nanometer length scales connects to their energetic and temporal landscapes. To counter this, we have built a home-built microscope that couples high temporal and spatial resolution to reveal the influence of the spatial heterogeneity/morphology on the critical charge separation dynamics.

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