B.A. (Carleton College, 1992)
Ph.D. (University of Texas at Austin, 1998)
Postdoctoral Research Associate (University of Texas at Austin, 1999-2001)
Office: Otto Maass 423
Email: Pat.Kambhampati [at] McGill.CA
Web Page: http://www.kambhampati-group.mcgill.ca
Lab: Otto Maass 25
Lab Phone: (514)398-3455
The semiconductor quantum dot is arguably “The” central material in the nanoscience revolution. The quantum dot is a nanoscale semiconductor, placing itself both literally and conceptually between the microscopic molecular limits traditionally studied by chemists and the macroscopic bulk limit studied by physicists. In this intermediate regime of size and quantum mechanics, the quantum dot is also referred to as an artificial atom. This situation presents a rich playground for investigating the basic science which is at the heart of nanoscience, as well as rationally applying these fundamental results to develop possibly disruptive technologies.
One of the main areas of impact of these quantum dots is on our energy future. Quantum dots have already shown considerable promise for advanced photovoltaics which may enable us to develop greener energy sources. In addition to their role on the “supply side” of the energy problem, these materials also offer value on the “demand side”. Quantum dots are excellent light emitters and can be developed into energy efficient sources of room lighting – one of our largest energy drains. In addition to addressing our needs for sustainable energy, the unique physics and chemistry of quantum dots may be exploited for advanced devices ranging from nano-lasers to sensors, and possibly transistors for light.
In order to explore the basic science of quantum dots, we develop and implement sophisticated laser spectroscopies to interrogate these materials in real time. With electronic and nuclear motion taking place on very fast timescales, we use an even faster “camera” – a femtosecond laser – to freeze out these motions and watch the ways in which these systems behave. In our lab, we use lasers that produce pulses of 10 femtoseconds (10 millionth of a billionth of a second) in duration. We can control these laser pulses so as to enable a wide variety of state-of-the-art spectroscopies to be performed on these quantum dots. In addition to developing the laser based techniques by which we establish our understanding of these materials, we exploit our understanding of the basic science to develop optical and electronic devices that aim to meet emergent societal needs enabled by semiconductor quantum dots.