Advanced femtosecond optical probes

Femtosecond optical probe spectroscopies are a useful tool to study fundamental light-matter interactions, charge separation dynamics, energy flow and chemical reactions. We are especially interested in studying optical nanoantennas, hybrid metal-semiconductor structures, and other novel materials with novel optical, electrical and photocatalytic properties.

Improvements in the performance of photocatalytic nanostructures depend on a detailed knowledge of the rate-limiting step(s), thus calling for time-resolved characterization techniques as well as novel techniques to characterize hybrid semiconductor nanostructures.

At Rice U, we have installed and are continuously developing an ultrafast spectroscopy system to investigate Raman vibrational spectra on the femtosecond time-scale. By employing our novel spectroscopic techniques, we can study the ultrafast dynamics of a variety of relevant reaction mechanisms in real time. This system is built on a high power fiber laser in conjunction with a sophisticated Non-collinear Optical Parametric Amplifier. Currently we are employing this time-resolved optical spectroscopy system to probe photo-chemical reactions in situ, and to study the photo-induced charge transfer kinetics in nanostructured photocatalyst materials.