University of Cambridge
In my project, I am focusing on the fabrication of new semiconductor-based core@shell nanoparticles (NPs) by methodically investigating different conditions and capping agents (surfactants such as cetyl trimethylammonium bromide (CTAB), long chain organic molecules such as oleic acid or oleyl amine) in order to build up control over reaction rate, particle size, aspect ratio, structure, composition and stability. I aspire to merge my skill in semiconductor chemistry and photocatalysis with interests in NP synthesis, characterization and immobilization.
I am seeking to solve these questions:
1. How can building blocks (core and shell precursors) and capping ligands be chosen/designed for the formation of new core@shell semiconductor NPs?
2. Can control of reaction conditions (simultaneous vs. sequential reduction of metal salts) and rates (use of different chemical agents for reducing M(n+) or else different temperatures for the thermal decomposition of M(0) reagents) endorse core@shell NP formation?
3. How can core@shell NP stability be increased? Variation of seed (core) size and shell thickness (by varying reaction kinetics and reagent stoichiometry) promises the systematic variation of NP composition.
4. How does the choice of semiconductor for the NP shell allow tuning of the valence and conduction band energy levels and so the spatial separation of charge carriers (excitons) upon photoexcitation?
5. Can catalyst NPs be immobilized and annealed on an optically transparent electrode (OTE)?
6. Can catalyst NPs be transferred from batch to microfluidic frameworks by developing new avenues for their immobilization (e.g. mesoporous thin films)?
7. Can the as-synthesized core@shell semiconductor NPs act as photocatalysts such that they can be used as a green methodology for the efficient and inexpensive destruction of waste toxic dyes?
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)