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Low Energy Photons, High Energy Research

U.S. Department of EnergyThe U.S. Department of Energy announced that Luisa Whittaker-Brooks of the Department of Chemistry is one of 84 recipients of the U. S. Department of Energy Early Career Research Program award. The award will assist Whittaker-Brooks in investigating the properties of two-dimensional hybrid organic-inorganic materials for their use as detectors of low-energy infrared photons.

Understanding the Optoelectronic Properties of Doped 2D Organic-Inorganic Halide Perovskite
Quantum Wells: Towards Efficient Ultrafast Quantum Well IR Photodetectors

Dr. Luisa Whittaker-Brooks, Assistant Professor Department of Chemistry
University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT 84112

The detection of low-energy photons is important for numerous applications such as defense (navigation, night vision, and weapons detection), remote sensing, cryogenic wind tunnels, optical communication (aerospace and terrestrial), infrared cameras, and biomedical and thermal imaging. The fabrication of efficient and low-cost, large–area infrared (IR) photodetectors comprising defect–tolerant materials is still a challenge since the only way of growing these materials is by using laborious and expensive vacuum deposition techniques. Recently, quantum well IR photodetectors have emerged as an alternative choice due to their low cost, high reproducibility and uniformity, and ease of fabrication when compared with traditional silicon bulk IR photodetectors. This research will develop two–dimensional (2D) organic–inorganic hybrid perovskite (OIHP) multiple quantum wells having strong spin–orbit coupling, high carrier mobility, and tunable quantum well structures. The studies will shed light on new breakthroughs in both materials design and modulation of fundamental physical phenomena by carefully elucidating the role of dopants, sample heterogeneity, orientation, structure, and bias stress effects on the performance of 2D OIHP IR photodetectors. The research efforts also involve the use of in situ and in operando characterization tools to generate a mechanistic understanding of the degradation processes and/or phase transformations occurring in 2D OIHP quantum well IR photodetectors under working conditions. The research, when brought to fruition, will significantly impact the development of 2D OIHPs for IR photodetectors while being simultaneously cost–competitive and solution processable. Moreover, these 2D OIHP –when optimized in thin films– will perhaps be one of the few doped materials available for ultrafast short-to-mid wavelength IR photodetection.

This research was selected for funding by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences.

Last Updated: 6/3/21