Emily A. Weiss Professor


Irving M. Klotz Research Professor

Professor of Materials Science and Engineering (by courtesy)

Research Statement

Our goal is to understand the mechanisms by which energy is converted from one form to another within inorganic nanostructures, and how we can use organic molecules to control which pathway the system takes. The model system we use most is a colloidal semiconductor nanocrystal, or quantum dot. We map the surface chemistry of these nanocrystals to their optical and electronic properties using a variety of structural, analytical, optical, electrical and computational methods of characterization and modeling, including NMR, Raman, and transient absorption and photoluminescence spectroscopies, electronic structure calculations and quantum dynamics. Recent directions include the use of quantum dots as photocatalysts for small-molecule transformations, the realization of “electron ratcheting”, a new mode of electron transport through nominally insulating materials, design of nanoscale self-assembled monolayers for various functions, and spatial and spectral control of excitons within quantum dot-molecule assemblies.

Selected Publications

  •  Jensen, S.C.; Bettis Homan, S.; Weiss, E.A. Photocatalytic Conversion of Nitrobenzene to Aniline through Sequential Proton-Coupled One-Electron Transfers from a Cadmium Sulfide Quantum Dot, J. Am. Chem. Soc., ASAP.
  •  Weinberg, D.J.; He, C.; Weiss, E.A. Control of the Redox Activity of Quantum Dots through Introduction of Fluoroalkanethiolates into their Ligand Shells, J. Am. Chem. Soc., ASAP.
  •  Tagliazucchi, M.; Zou, F.; Weiss, E.A. Kinetically Controlled Self-assembly of Latex-Microgel Core-Satellite Particles, J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 5, 2775-2780 (2014).
  •  Knowles, K.E.; Tagliazucchi, M.; Malicki, M.; Swenson, N.K.; Weiss, E.A. Electron Transfer as a Probe of the Permeability of Organic Monolayers on the Surfaces of Colloidal PbS Quantum Dots, J. Phys. Chem. C, 117, 15849- 15857 (2013).
  • Frederick, M.T.; Cass, L.C.; Amin, V.A.; Weiss, E.A. A Molecule to Detect and Perturb the Confinement of Charge Carriers in Quantum Dots, Nano Lett., 11, 5455-5460 (2011).

Selected Honors/Awards

  • Harry Gray Award for Creative Work in Inorganic Chemistry by a Young Investigator (2015)
  • Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2014)
  • Kavli Emerging Leader in Chemistry, American Chemical Society (2013)
  • Distinguished Teaching Award, Northwestern Undergraduate Chemistry Council (2013)
  • NU-Argonne Early Career Investigator Award for Energy Research (2011)
  • A.P. Sloan Research Fellowship (2011)
  • Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering (2010)
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) via DoD(ARO) (2010)
  • Department of Energy Early Career Research Award (2010)
  • Dreyfus Foundation Postdoctoral Program in Environmental Chemistry Award (2009)
  • Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award (2009)
  • Dreyfus Foundation New Faculty Award (2008)
  • Dow Chemical Company Teacher-Scholar Award (2008)