Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University
"Visualizing chemical reactions and light-matter interactions with nanometer-scale resolution"
Abstract: In 1833, Faraday combined silver and sulfur and discovered the first material with a negative temperature coefficient of resistance, silver sulfide. At the time, the word semiconductor did not even exist. Yet we now know that this first semiconducting material laid the foundation for an entirely new and extremely important class of electronic materials. Today, a similar revolution is unfolding for optical materials. Textbook conceptions of light-matter interactions, such as the notions of exclusively positive refractive indices and reciprocal light propagation, are being redefined by new optical materials. These materials allow light to be controlled in ways previously thought impossible, providing techniques to circumvent the diffraction limit of light and tune both electric and magnetic light-matter interactions. In this presentation, I will describe my group's efforts to develop such new optical materials, and use them to directly visualize, probe, and control nanoscale systems and phenomena -- particularly those relevant to energy and biology.