Skip to main content

Emily A. Weiss


A.B.: Princeton University 2000; Ph.D.: Northwestern University 2005


Mark and Nancy Ratner Professor of Chemistry

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

  • He, C.; Zhang, Z.; Wang, C.; Jiang, Y.; Weiss, E.A. Reversible Modulation of the Electrostatic Potential of a Colloidal Quantum Dot through the Protonation Equilibrium of its Ligands, J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 8, 4981–4987 (2017).
  • Kedem, O.; Lau, B.; Weiss, E.A. How to Drive a Flashing Electron Ratchet to Maximize Current, Nano Lett., 17, 5848–5854 (2017).
  • Wang, C.; Weiss, E.A. Accelerating FRET between Near-Infrared-Emitting Quantum Dots Using a Molecular J-aggregate as an Exciton Bridge, Nano Lett., 17, 5666-5671 (2017).
  • Kedem, O.; Lau, B.; Ratner, M.A.; Weiss, E.A. A Light-Responsive Organic Electron Flashing Ratchet, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 114, 8698-8703 (2017).
  • Lian, S.; Kodaimati, M.S.; Dolzhnikov, D.S.; Calzada, R.; Weiss, E.A. Powering a CO2 Reduction Catalyst with Visible Light through Multiple Sub-picosecond Electron Transfers from a Quantum Dot, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 139, 8931–8938 (2017).
  • Zhang, Z.; Edme, K.; Weiss, E.A. Enhancing the Rate of Quantum Dot-Photocatalyzed Carbon-Carbon Coupling by Tuning the Composition of the Dot’s Ligand Shell,J. Am. Chem. Soc., 139, 4246-4249 (2017).
  • Thompson, C.M.; Kodaimati, M.; Westmoreland, D.E.; Calzada, R.; Weiss, E.A. Electrostatic Control of Excitonic Energies and Dynamics in a CdS Quantum Dot through Reversible Protonation of its Ligands, J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 7, 3954-3960 (2016).

Selected Honors/Awards

  • Distinguished Women in Science Seminar Speaker, Stanford University  (2016)
  • 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)
Back to top