Resolving the formation of & transformations and transport within self-assembled energy materials in space and time

Welcome to the research group of Naomi S. Ginsberg, Professor of Chemistry and Physics, UC Berkeley!

We are pushing the limits of multimodal measurement science to answer fundamental and challenging multiscale questions that span physics, chemistry, biology, and materials science.

These questions largely center around the dynamic properties of materials whose basic building blocks are more complex than individual atoms, thus exhibiting an intriguing hierarchy of bond strengths and many opportunities to create novel functional materials with economical assembly protocols.

Examples of these hierarchical materials include organic semiconductors, metal halide perovskites, covalent organic frameworks, 2D materials, nanocrystal superlattices, ion conducting materials important for solar fuels generation, and natural and biomimetic photosynthetic light harvesting materials.

  • What are the¬†microscopic mechanisms responsible for non-equilibrium, triggered, or driven processes in a wide range of frontier semiconductors and other complex systems being developed for solar energy transduction, transport, and storage? How can energy transport be manipulated, and could we learn from its remarkable efficiency in the first instants of photosynthesis to guide the design of person-made analogues?
  • How can the formation and local structure of electronic hierarchical materials from their individual nanoparticle or molecular building blocks be understood well enough at the nanoscale to be controlled and to control their emergent structural, thermal, electronic, and optical properties and their ability to transport different forms of energy?
  • How can we investigate the properties of soft matter well below the optical diffraction limit? Can the nanoscale dynamics of both matter and energy in these systems be studied non-invasively and in real-time?

Addressing these questions has driven us to develop a suite of spectroscopic imaging tools that leverage a wide range of light-matter interactions and span visible light, X-ray, and electron optics, enabling us to follow how energy and matter move at their characteristic length and time scales. Please consult the Research page for additional detail.

We acknowledge support from the National Science Foundation via the STROBE Science and Technology Center for Realtime Imaging, the Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences under contracts DE-SC0019375, DE-SC0019140, DE-SC0021266, and DE-AC02-05CH11231, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Kavli Energy Nanosciences Institute.