Nanocrystals for Energy Transduction

Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Mainz, Germany

Research Scope

Transduction of energy is at the core of life and technology. Our visual perception relies on photons beeing transduced to electrochemical potentials, displaying this website requires the transduction of electrical signals to photons. In photocatalysis, photon energy is converted to chemical energy, in photovoltaics to electricity. In nanobiotechnology magnetic field excitations are transduced to heat-induced biochemical reactions, in nanorobotics to kinetic energy.

At the core of these technologies are functional materials that convert energy from one form to another. We focus our research on nanocrystals, crystallites of a few nanometers in size, able to transduce photo or magnetic excitations.

In the past years, many proof of concepts of such systems have emerged. However, fundamental mechanisms related to nanocrystal formation and their energy transduction and transfer are often not well understood. In our lab we synthesize and study the formation of high quality nanocrystals, suitable for efficient energy transduction, and control their properties by composition (semiconductors, plasmonic or magnetic), size and shape (e.g. quantum confinement effects, shape induced anisotropy), and surface functionalities (e.g. thermal conductivities, electron donors/acceptors). We then use these nanocrystals to perform key experiments on local effects induced by excitation and investigate distance dependencies in energy transfer between excited nanoparticles and soft matter in their proximity. This will help to improve our understanding of nanoscale energy transduction and transfer. Since our investigations aim to provide general concepts, the results will have a broader impact in various fields, including nanobiotechnology, heterogeneous catalysis and propulsion in nanorobotics.


11.07.2019. Andreas Riedinger will present our work on kinetically driven assemblies of semiconductor nanoplatelets at the ECOF16 in Paris.

11.07.2019. Henry Halim will present his work on water-dispersed semiconductor nanoplatelets at the Zsigmondy Colloquium 2019 in Dresden.

24.01.2019. We welcome Shuai Chen as PhD student in our group.

22.10.2018. Our paper on the reactive intermediates in the synthesis of CdSe and CdS Nanoplatelets is published.

01.10.2018. We welcome Junren Wang and Ewald Johannes in our group.