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Emily A. Weiss


A.B.: Princeton University 2000
Ph.D.: Northwestern University 2005


Mark and Nancy Ratner Professor of Chemistry

Professor of Materials Science and Engineering (by courtesy)

Director, Photo-Sciences Research Center (PSRC)

Research Statement

Our goal is to understand the mechanisms by which energy is converted from one form to another within hybrids of inorganic nanostructures and organic molecules. The model system we use most is a colloidal semiconductor nanocrystal, or quantum dot. We map the surface chemistry of these nanocrystals to their optical and electronic properties, and their chemical reactivity using a variety of structural, analytical, optical, electrical and computational methods of characterization and modeling. The primary research areas in the lab are colloidal photocatalysis, the use of quantum dots to drive chemical reactions with unprecedented selectivity; the realization of electron ratcheting, a new mode of electron transport through nominally insulating materials; the design of photonic qubits for quantum information science; the photophysical characterization of mixed-dimensional heterojunctions, comprising 0D quantum dots or molecules and 2D semiconductors; ultrafast biology, the development of probes for biological imaging on the nanosecond timescale; and hierarchical photocatalysis, the coupling of catalytic processes to mechanical actuation.

Selected Publications

Jiang, Y.; Wang, C.; Rogers, C.R.; Kodaimati, M.S.; Weiss, E.A. Regio- and Diastereoselective Triplet-Initiated Intermolecular [2+2] Cycloadditions Photocatalyzed by Quantum Dots, Nature Chemistry, in press.

Kodaimati, M.; Lian, S.; Jiang, Y.; Schatz, G.C.; Weiss, E.A. Energy-Transfer Enhanced Photocatalytic Reduction of Protons within Quantum Dot Light Harvesting–Catalyst Assemblies, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 115, 8290-8295 (2018).

Wang, C.; Weiss, E.A. Accelerating FRET between Near-Infrared-Emitting Quantum Dots Using a Molecular J-aggregate as an Exciton Bridge, Nano Lett., 17, 5666-5671 (2017).

Kedem, O.; Lau, B.; Ratner, M.A.; Weiss, E.A. A Light-Responsive Organic Electron Flashing Ratchet, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 114, 8698-8703 (2017).

Lian, S.; Kodaimati, M.; Weiss, E.A. Photocatalytically Active Superstructures of Quantum Dots and Iron Porphyrins for Reduction of CO2 to CO in Water, ACS Nano, 12, 568–575 (2018).

Zhang, Z.; Edme, K.; Weiss, E.A. Enhancing the Rate of Quantum Dot-Photocatalyzed Carbon-Carbon Coupling by Tuning the Composition of the Dot’s Ligand Shell, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 139, 4246-4249 (2017).

Selected Honors/Awards

  • National Finalist, Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists, Blavatnik Family Foundation (2018, 2019)
  • Speaker and panelist for the Opening Session of the 2019 ACS Spring National Meeting (2019)
  • Early Career Award in Experimental Physical Chemistry, ACS Physical Chemistry Division (2018)
  • Distinguished Women in Science Seminar Speaker, Stanford University (2016)
  • Phi Lambda Upsilon Distinguished Speaker, Kansas State University (2015)
  • Harry Gray Award for Creative Work in Inorganic Chemistry by a Young Investigator (2015)
  • Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2014)
  • Kavli Emerging Leader in Chemistry, American Chemical Society (2013)
  • Distinguished Teaching Award, Northwestern Undergraduate Chemistry Council (2013)
  • A.P. Sloan Research Fellowship (2011)
  • Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering (2010)
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) via DoD(ARO) (2010)
  • Department of Energy Early Career Research Award (2010)
  • Dreyfus Foundation Postdoctoral Program in Environmental Chemistry Award (2009)
  • Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award (2009)
  • Dreyfus Foundation New Faculty Award (2008)
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