Speaker: Marina Leite, Assistant Professor, Materials Science & Engineering, UMCP
Title: LIGHT, MATERIALS, interACTION: An Overview of the Leite Lab
Abstract:Dr. Leite's research group is engaged in fundamental and applied research in novel materials for energy harvesting and storage, nanophotonics and optoelectronics. The performance of most photovoltaic devices is still limited by their nanoscale behavior. To reveal how the electrical and optical responses vary at relevant length scales, Leite's group acquire nanoscale resolved “photographs” and “movies” of the performance of inhomogeneous materials for photovoltaics, by means of novel nanospectroscopic methods. Their measurements provide a tomography of charge carrier generation, recombination, and collection within materials ranging from well-established thin films to emerging perovskites. In particular, the team probes the correlation between perovskites’ stability and the chemical changes that occur when the material is exposed to humidity, oxygen, temperature, light, and bias. In the realm of energy storage, the further development of rechargeable, safe batteries requires the understanding of why and how the material is changing upon charging/discharging. Leite's team elucidates the dynamics of lithiation/delithiation in all-solid-state batteries through in situ electron microscopy methods to ultimately identify and control undesired chemical reactions that lead to capacity fade. Concerning optical materials, they overcome the constraint imposed by the pre-defined dielectric functions of metals by alloying, where they've recently developed a library of their optical properties. Their approach enables new materials with on demand optical response for applications ranging from electrocatalysis to superabsorbers and color displays.