- Prineha Narang, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Technologies of the future, including high-performance exascale computing, Internet-of-Things, and integrated quantum information processing, are limited by conventional device concepts and their constituent materials. The limits of electronic, optical and thermal performance of these materials are determined by their atomic-scale dynamics. In order to surpass conventional, bulk properties of materials, an accurate description of excited-state phenomena is essential. Quantum-engineered materials could provide multiple functionalities, using atom-by-atom engineering, in an ultra-compact, 3D monolithically integrated architecture enabling highly energy efficient devices. This is simultaneously relevant in consumer electronics and next-generation space systems and satellites.
Excited-state photonics and plasmonics find a broad range of applications in biosensing, positioning, navigation, and timing platforms, devices for quantum information processing as well as high-resolution imaging.
In this seminar, I will provide a fundamental understanding of plasmon-driven hot carrier generation and relaxation dynamics in the ultrafast (atto-picosecod) regime. I will report the first ab initio calculations of phonon-assisted optical excitations in metals as well as calculations of energy-dependent lifetimes and mean free paths of hot carriers, lending insight towards transport of plasmonically-generated carriers at the nanoscale. In context of excited state quantum materials, I will show results that probe the fundamental optical behavior of cavities coupled to the elaborate topology of light-harvesting complexes. This understanding will enable rational control of photonic energy transfer at the molecular scale using spatially programmable nanoscale materials inspired by natural photosynthetic systems. Application-specific, integrated architectures at the atomic-scale can be achieved via 2D materials and their corresponding van der Waals heterostructures with deterministic defect engineering. I will give several examples of ab initio designed materials in the technologically important mid-long wave IR spectral band based on vdW heterostructures. A particular application of these in space platforms and space exploration that requires ultralight optical components will be discussed.
In conclusion, I will give an outlook on the potential of excited state and non-equilibrium phenomena to deliver integrated quantum-engineered materials with diverse applications in quantum sensing and metrology, ultra-low power optoelectronic and electronic devices as well as energy conversion.
This talk is part of the Institute for Functional Imaging of Materials Seminar series.