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Neon Spheres

SOLVING A GRAND CHALLENGE TO DEVELOP DESIGN RULES FOR THE

LONG-RANGE TRANSPORT OF EXCITONS

MOLECULAR PHOTONIC BREADBOARDS

Research project sponsored by an EPSRC Programme Grant

The absorption of light by molecules leads to the formation of molecular excited states, consisting of electron-hole pairs, called excitons. Control of excitons is essential for many new and emerging technologies identified in the Government’s Industrial Strategy as being vital to the economic success of the UK, including solar energy capture, photocatalysis, quantum technologies, and the design of diagnostic devices for personalised medicine.

The goal of our five year, £7.25M programme is to explore an entirely new approach to the design of molecular photonic materials that could extend excitation transfer distances from nm to cm.

 

Our programme of research is kindly supported by The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

An unsolved grand challenge has been to develop design rules for the long-range transport of excitons. 

Our goal is to solve this grand challenge.
Molecular Photonic Breadboard with synthetic biological antenna complexes

In a molecular photonic breadboard, synthetic biological antenna complexes (like the tetrahelical proteins shown here) organise pigments in nanoscale regions of space, thus controlling excitonic coupling. Incorporation of a plasmon mode with an associated field (E) enables polaritonic control of energy transfer, and manipulation of ultra-fast non-local couplings (red arrow). Large numbers of such plexcitonic complexes can be assembled to form macroscopically extended films.

MEET THE TEAM

To achieve this ambitious project, we have brought together a cross-disciplinary team with expertise that spans synthetic biology, photosynthesis, synthetic chemistry, nanotechnology, polymer science, plasmonics, molecular physics and theory. 

PUBLICATIONS
  • "Strong coupling in molecular systems: a simple predictor employing routine optical measurements", Nanophotonics 2024

  • "XPS Depth-Profiling Studies of Chlorophyll Binding to Poly(cysteine methacrylate) Scaffolds in Pigment-Polymer Antenna Complexes using a Gas Cluster Ion Source", ChemRxiv 2024

Contact us

CONTACT US

To solve our grand challenge, we have brought together a multidisciplinary team of experts from across the following three UK research institutions, and lead by The University of Sheffield.

If you would like to find out more, please get in touch.
Project lead: Professor Graham Leggett

Project Manager: Christina Metcalfe
Laser lab
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