George C. Schatz Professor

Research Statement

Our research involves theory and computation as applies to problems in nanotechnology, properties of materials, macromolecular structures and dynamics, molecular self-assembly, optics, materials physics and biophysics. We are also interested in electronic structure methods, in quantum and classical theories of dynamical processes, and in using these methods to study the reactions of molecules at interfaces.

A major interest is in the optical properties of metal nanoparticles and aggregates of nanoparticles, including applications in extinction and surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy, Rayleigh scattering and a variety of nonlinear optical properties. Much of our optical property work is concerned with classical electrodynamics, where we have developed new methods for describing light scattering and absorption, and methods for extending electrodynamics down to small structures. We are also learning to use electronic structure methods to describe nanoparticle optical properties, and in combining electronic structure theory and electrodynamics for these studies.

We are very actively studying the properties of nanostructured materials, especially as pertains to metal nanoparticles that are linked by polymers such as DNA or peptides. This work includes molecular dynamics studies of DNA attached to gold nanparticles, and the statistical mechanics of aggregate formation. A related interest is in the deposition and self assembly of thin films. Many of these projects are being done jointly with Professors Mirkin, Hupp, Odom and Van Duyne, and involve applications to chemical and biological sensors, but there are also connections with new materials being developed by the Stupp and Mirkin groups.

The mechanical properties of materials are another general topic of interest, particularly concerning the properties of carbon-containing materials such as carbon nanotubes, graphene and diamond. We are also interested in mechanically bistable molecules, and their use in molecular machines.

Another area of interest is chemical processes that take place under nonthermal conditions, especially processes that take place at surfaces. Here we are performing electronic structure and molecular dynamics calculations to characterize the reactions of radicals (such as atomic oxygen) and excited molecules with either liquid or solid surfaces, so as to determine the mechanism of reactions that occur in these gas/surface collisions.

Selected Publications

Uniform circular disks with synthetically tailorable diameters: two-dimensional nanoparticles for plasmonics, M. N. O’Brien, M. R. Jones, K. L. Kohlstedt, G. C. Schatz and C. A. Mirkin, Nano Lett. 15, 1012-1017 (2015). DOI:10.1021/nl5038566

Calculations of surface-enhanced Raman spectra including orientational and stokes effects using TDDFT/Mie theory QM/ED method, in Frontiers of surface-enhanced Raman scattering, Ed. Yukihiro Ozaki, Katrin Kneipp, Ricardo Aroca, Wiley, p. 1-17, 2014. DOI:10.1002/9781118703601.ch1

What controls the hybridization thermodynamics of spherical nucleic acids?, P. S. Randeria, M. R. Jones, K. L. Kohlstedt, R. J. Banga, M. Olvera de la Cruz, G. C. Schatz, C. A. Mirkin, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 137, 3486-89 (2015) DOI:10.1021/jacs.5b00670

Charge transport across DNA-based three-way junctions, R. M. Young, P. N. Arunoday, A. Thazhathveetil, V. Y. Cho, Y. Zhang, N. Renaud, F. C. Grozema, D. N. Beratan, M. A. Ratner, G. C. Schatz, Y. A. Berlin, F. D. Lewis, M. R. Wasielewski, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 137, 5113-22 (2015). DOI:10.1021/jacs.5b00931

Nanoscale form dictates mesoscale function in plasmonic DNA-nanoparticle superlattices, M. B. Ross, J. C. Ku, V. M. Vaccarezza, G. C. Schatz, C. A. Mirkin, Nature Nano 10 453-8 (2015) DOI:10.1038/nnano.2015.68

Conformational order in aggregates of conjugated polymers, N. E. Jackson, K. L. Kohlstedt, B. M. Savoie, M. Olvera de la Cruz, G. C. Schatz, L. X. Chen, M. A. Ratner, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 6254-62 (2015) DOI:10.1021/jacs.5b00493

Real-time tunable lasing from plasmonic nanocavity arrays, Ankun Yang, Thang B. Hoang, Montacer Dridi, Claire Deeb, Maiken H. Mikkelsen, George C. Schatz, Teri W. Odom, Nature Communications 6, 6939 (2015) DOI: 10.1038/ncomms7939

Reverse non-equilibrium molecular dynamics demonstrate that surface passivation controls thermal transport at semiconductor-solid interfaces, Daniel C. Hannah, J. Daniel Gezelter, Richard D. Schaller, George C. Schatz, ACS Nano, 9, 6278-87 (2015). DOI:10.1021/acsnano.5b01724

Molecular-level engineer of adhesion in carbon nanomaterial interfaces, M. R. Roenbeck, A. Furmanchuk, Z. An, J. T. Paci, X. Wei, S. T. Nguyen, G. C. Schatz, H. Espinosa, Nano Lett. 15, 4504-16 (2015). DOI:10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b01011

Strong coupling between plasmonic gap modes and photonic lattice modes in DNA-assembled gold nanocube arrays, Q. –Y. Lin, Z. Li, K. A. Brown, M. N. O’Brien, M. B. Ross, Y. Zhou, S. Butun, P. –C. Chen, G. C. Schatz, V. P. Dravid, K. Aydin, C. A. Mirkin, Nano Lett 15, 4699-4703 (2015) DOI:10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b01548

Selected Honors/Awards

  • Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, Dreyfus Fellow
  • National Fresenius Award, Phi Lambda Upsilon
  • Fellow, American Physical Society
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Max Planck Research Award
  • Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Physical Chemistry
  • Fellow, International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Member of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Bourke Medal of the Faraday Division of the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Feynman Prize of the Foresight Institute
  • Fellow of the American Chemical Society
  • Peter Debye Award of the American Chemical Society
  • S F Boys-A Rahman Award of the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Hirschfelder Prize, University of Wisconsin
  • Irving Langmuir Award in Chemical Physics, American Chemical Society