Rice University, Department of Chemistry (Houston, USA)
In the laboratory of Prof. Link, physical methods are applied to solve problems in nanoscience. One of the main focus areas is the study of noble metal nanoparticles. These particles have long fascinated scientists because of their intense color, which is caused by the surface plasmon resonance, a coherent motion of the conduction band electrons induced by interaction with light. The excitation of a nanoparticle surface plasmon gives rise to absorption and scattering, and also creates a strong local electromagnetic field around the metal nanoparticle surface. The unique optical properties of metal nanoparticles have caused a tremendous interest in building improved and new devices from novel materials that consist of nanoparticle building blocks and are designed in a bottoms-up approach. As main tool, the Link Lab uses single molecule/nanoparticle imaging and spectroscopy techniques to understand the radiative and nonradiative properties of individual plasmonic nanoparticles and their assemblies. Single particle spectroscopy, especially when correlated with structural imaging using electron microscopy, provides the ultimate resolution and has enabled major breakthroughs in materials chemistry and physics because heterogeneous distributions of nanoparticle shape, size, and orientation or interfacial nanoscale structure can be measured directly.