Matching Items (18)

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Combined AFM and Fluorescence Measurements for the Investigation of Nanophotonic Effects on Single Fluorophores

Description

In this project, we introduce a type of microscopy which produces correlated topography and fluorescence lifetime images with nanometer resolution. This technique combines atomic force microscopy (AFM) and time resolved confocal fluorescence microscopy to conduct biological and materials research. This

In this project, we introduce a type of microscopy which produces correlated topography and fluorescence lifetime images with nanometer resolution. This technique combines atomic force microscopy (AFM) and time resolved confocal fluorescence microscopy to conduct biological and materials research. This method is used to investigate nanophotonic effects on single fluorophores, including quantum dots and fluorescent molecules. For single fluorescent molecules, we investigate the effects of quenching of fluorescence with the probe of an atomic force microscope which is combined and synchronized with a confocal fluorescence lifetime microscope. For quantum dots, we investigate the correlation between the topographic and fluorescence data. With this method of combining an atomic force microscope with a confocal microscope, it is anticipated that there will be applications in nanomaterial characterization and life sciences; such as the determination of the structure of small molecular systems on surfaces, molecular interactions, as well as the structure and properties of fluorescent nanomaterials.

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Date Created
2013-05

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Determination of electrostatic potential and charge distribution of semiconductor nanostructures using off-axis electron holography

Description

The research of this dissertation involved quantitative characterization of electrostatic potential and charge distribution of semiconductor nanostructures using off-axis electron holography, as well as other electron microscopy techniques. The investigated nanostructures included Ge quantum dots, Ge/Si core/shell nanowires, and polytype

The research of this dissertation involved quantitative characterization of electrostatic potential and charge distribution of semiconductor nanostructures using off-axis electron holography, as well as other electron microscopy techniques. The investigated nanostructures included Ge quantum dots, Ge/Si core/shell nanowires, and polytype heterostructures in ZnSe nanobelts. Hole densities were calculated for the first two systems, and the spontaneous polarization for wurtzite ZnSe was determined. Epitaxial Ge quantum dots (QDs) embedded in boron-doped silicon were studied. Reconstructed phase images showed extra phase shifts near the base of the QDs, which was attributed to hole accumulation in these regions. The resulting charge density was (0.03±0.003) holes
m3, which corresponded to about 30 holes localized to a pyramidal, 25-nm-wide Ge QD. This value was in reasonable agreement with the average number of holes confined to each Ge dot determined using a capacitance-voltage measurement. Hole accumulation in Ge/Si core/shell nanowires was observed and quantified using off-axis electron holography and other electron microscopy techniques. High-angle annular-dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy images and electron holograms were obtained from specific nanowires. The intensities of the former were utilized to calculate the projected thicknesses for both the Ge core and the Si shell. The excess phase shifts measured by electron holography across the nanowires indicated the presence of holes inside the Ge cores. The hole density in the core regions was calculated to be (0.4±0.2)
m3 based on a simplified coaxial cylindrical model. Homogeneous zincblende/wurtzite heterostructure junctions in ZnSe nanobelts were studied. The observed electrostatic fields and charge accumulation were attributed to spontaneous polarization present in the wurtzite regions since the contributions from piezoelectric polarization were shown to be insignificant based on geometric phase analysis. The spontaneous polarization for the wurtzite ZnSe was calculated to be psp = -(0.0029±0.00013) C/m2, whereas a first principles' calculation gave psp = -0.0063 C/m2. The atomic arrangements and polarity continuity at the zincblende/wurtzite interface were determined through aberration-corrected high-angle annular-dark-field imaging, which revealed no polarity reversal across the interface. Overall, the successful outcomes of these studies confirmed the capability of off-axis electron holography to provide quantitative electrostatic information for nanostructured materials.

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Created

Date Created
2011

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DNA sequencing by recognition tunnelling

Description

Single molecules in a tunnel junction can now be interrogated reliably using chemically-functionalized electrodes. Monitoring stochastic bonding fluctuations between a ligand bound to one electrode and its target bound to a second electrode ("tethered molecule-pair" configuration) gives insight into the

Single molecules in a tunnel junction can now be interrogated reliably using chemically-functionalized electrodes. Monitoring stochastic bonding fluctuations between a ligand bound to one electrode and its target bound to a second electrode ("tethered molecule-pair" configuration) gives insight into the nature of the intermolecular bonding at a single molecule-pair level, and defines the requirements for reproducible tunneling data. Importantly, at large tunnel gaps, there exists a regime for many molecules in which the tunneling is influenced more by the chemical identity of the molecules than by variability in the molecule-metal contact. Functionalizing a pair of electrodes with recognition reagents (the "free analyte" configuration) can generate a distinct tunneling signal when an analyte molecule is trapped in the gap. This opens up a new interface between chemistry and electronics with immediate implications for rapid sequencing of single DNA molecules.

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Date Created
2012

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First principles exploration of crystal structures and physical properties of silicon hydrides KSiH₃ and K₂SiH₆, alkali and alkaline earth metal carbides, and II-V semiconductors ZnSb and ZnAs

Description

This dissertation is focused on material property exploration and analysis using computational quantum mechanics methods. Theoretical calculations were performed on the recently discovered hexahydride materials A2SiH6 (A=Rb, K) to calculate the lattice dynamics of the systems in order to check

This dissertation is focused on material property exploration and analysis using computational quantum mechanics methods. Theoretical calculations were performed on the recently discovered hexahydride materials A2SiH6 (A=Rb, K) to calculate the lattice dynamics of the systems in order to check for structural stability, verify the experimental Raman and infrared spectrospcopy results, and obtain the theoretical free energies of formation. The electronic structure of the systems was calculated and the bonding and ionic properties of the systems were analyzed. The novel hexahydrides were compared to the important hydrogen storage material KSiH3. This showed that the hypervalent nature of the SiH62- ions reduced the Si-H bonding strength considerably. These hydrogen rich compounds could have promising energy applications as they link to alternative hydrogen fuel technology. The carbide systems Li-C (A=Li,Ca,Mg) were studied using \emph{ab initio} and evolutionary algorithms at high pressures. At ambient pressure Li2C2 and CaC2 are known to contain C22- dumbbell anions and CaC2 is polymorphic. At elevated pressure both CaC2 and Li2C2 display polymorphism. At ambient pressure the Mg-C system contains several experimentally known phases, however, all known phases are shown to be metastable with respect to the pure elements Mg and C. First principle investigation of the configurational space of these compounds via evolutionary algorithms results in a variety of metastable and unique structures. The binary compounds ZnSb and ZnAs are II-V electron-poor semiconductors with interesting thermoelectric properties. They contain rhomboid rings composed of Zn2Sb2 (Zn2As2) with multi-centered covalent bonds which are in turn covalently bonded to other rings via two-centered, two-electron bonds. Ionicity was explored via Bader charge analysis and it appears that the low ionicity that these materials display is a necessary condition of their multicentered bonding. Both compounds were found to have narrow, indirect band gaps with multi-valley valence and conduction bands; which are important characteristics for high thermopower in thermoelectric materials. Future work is needed to analyze the lattice properties of the II-V CdSb-type systems, especially in order to find the origin of the extremely low thermal conductivity that these systems display.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2013

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Rationalization of protein conformational dynamics by molecular simulations: studies of the ERK2 kinase and the LAC repressor headpiece-O1 operator complex

Description

Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations provide a particularly useful approach to understanding conformational change in biomolecular systems. MD simulations provide an atomistic, physics-based description of the motions accessible to biomolecular systems on the pico- to micro-second timescale, yielding important insight into

Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations provide a particularly useful approach to understanding conformational change in biomolecular systems. MD simulations provide an atomistic, physics-based description of the motions accessible to biomolecular systems on the pico- to micro-second timescale, yielding important insight into the free energy of the system, the dynamical stability of contacts and the role of correlated motions in directing the motions of the system. In this thesis, I use molecular dynamics simulations to provide molecular mechanisms that rationalize structural, thermodynamic, and mutation data on the interactions between the lac repressor headpiece and its O1 operator DNA as well as the ERK2 protein kinase. I performed molecular dynamics simulations of the lac repressor headpiece - O1 operator complex at the natural angle as well as at under- and overbent angles to assess the factors that determine the natural DNA bending angle. I find both energetic and entropic factors contribute to recognition of the natural angle. At the natural angle the energy of the system is minimized by optimization of protein-DNA contacts and the entropy of the system is maximized by release of water from the protein-DNA interface and decorrelation of protein motions. To identify the mechanism by which mutations lead to auto-activation of ERK2, I performed a series of molecular dynamics simulations of ERK1/2 in various stages of activation as well as the constitutively active Q103A, I84A, L73P and R65S ERK2 mutants. My simulations indicate the importance of domain closure for auto-activation and activity regulation. My results enable me to predict two loss-of-function mutants of ERK2, G83A and Q64C, that have been confirmed in experiments by collaborators. One of the powerful capabilities of MD simulations in biochemistry is the ability to find low free energy pathways that connect and explain disparate structural data on biomolecular systems. An extention of the targeted molecular dynamics technique using constraints on internal coordinates will be presented and evaluated. The method gives good results for the alanine dipeptide, but breaks down when applied to study conformational changes in GroEL and adenylate kinase.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2011

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Carbon nanotube based nanofluidic devices

Description

Nanofluidic devices in which one single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) spans a barrier between two fluid reservoirs were constructed, enabling direct electrical measurement of the transport of ions and molecules. Ion current through these devices is about 2 orders of magnitude

Nanofluidic devices in which one single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) spans a barrier between two fluid reservoirs were constructed, enabling direct electrical measurement of the transport of ions and molecules. Ion current through these devices is about 2 orders of magnitude larger than that predicted from the bulk resistivity of the electrolyte. Electroosmosis drives excess current, carried by cations, and is found to be the origin of giant ionic current through SWCNT as shown by building an ionic field-effect transistor with a gate electrode embedded in the fluid barrier. Wetting of inside of the semi-conducting SWCNT by water showed the change of its electronic property, turning the electronic SWCNT field-effect transistor to "on" state. These findings provide a new method to investigate and control the ion and molecule behavior at nanoscale.

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Agent

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Date Created
2011

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The role of mutations in protein structural dynamics and function: a multi-scale computational approach

Description

Proteins are a fundamental unit in biology. Although proteins have been extensively studied, there is still much to investigate. The mechanism by which proteins fold into their native state, how evolution shapes structural dynamics, and the dynamic mechanisms of many

Proteins are a fundamental unit in biology. Although proteins have been extensively studied, there is still much to investigate. The mechanism by which proteins fold into their native state, how evolution shapes structural dynamics, and the dynamic mechanisms of many diseases are not well understood. In this thesis, protein folding is explored using a multi-scale modeling method including (i) geometric constraint based simulations that efficiently search for native like topologies and (ii) reservoir replica exchange molecular dynamics, which identify the low free energy structures and refines these structures toward the native conformation. A test set of eight proteins and three ancestral steroid receptor proteins are folded to 2.7Å all-atom RMSD from their experimental crystal structures. Protein evolution and disease associated mutations (DAMs) are most commonly studied by in silico multiple sequence alignment methods. Here, however, the structural dynamics are incorporated to give insight into the evolution of three ancestral proteins and the mechanism of several diseases in human ferritin protein. The differences in conformational dynamics of these evolutionary related, functionally diverged ancestral steroid receptor proteins are investigated by obtaining the most collective motion through essential dynamics. Strikingly, this analysis shows that evolutionary diverged proteins of the same family do not share the same dynamic subspace. Rather, those sharing the same function are simultaneously clustered together and distant from those functionally diverged homologs. This dynamics analysis also identifies 77% of mutations (functional and permissive) necessary to evolve new function. In silico methods for prediction of DAMs rely on differences in evolution rate due to purifying selection and therefore the accuracy of DAM prediction decreases at fast and slow evolvable sites. Here, we investigate structural dynamics through computing the contribution of each residue to the biologically relevant fluctuations and from this define a metric: the dynamic stability index (DSI). Using DSI we study the mechanism for three diseases observed in the human ferritin protein. The T30I and R40G DAMs show a loss of dynamic stability at the C-terminus helix and nearby regulatory loop, agreeing with experimental results implicating the same regulatory loop as a cause in cataracts syndrome.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2011

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Polarization effects in group III-nitride materials and devices

Description

Group III-nitride semiconductors have wide application in optoelectronic devices. Spontaneous and piezoelectric polarization effects have been found to be critical for electric and optical properties of group III-nitrides. In this dissertation, firstly, the crystal orientation dependence of the polarization is

Group III-nitride semiconductors have wide application in optoelectronic devices. Spontaneous and piezoelectric polarization effects have been found to be critical for electric and optical properties of group III-nitrides. In this dissertation, firstly, the crystal orientation dependence of the polarization is calculated and in-plane polarization is revealed. The in-plane polarization is sensitive to the lateral characteristic dimension determined by the microstructure. Specific semi-polar plane growth is suggested for reducing quantum-confined Stark effect. The macroscopic electrostatic field from the polarization discontinuity in the heterostructures is discussed, b ased on that, the band diagram of InGaN/GaN quantum well/barrier and AlGaN/GaN heterojunction is obtained from the self-consistent solution of Schrodinger and Poisson equations. New device design such as triangular quantum well with the quenched polarization field is proposed. Electron holography in the transmission electron microscopy is used to examine the electrostatic potential under polarization effects. The measured potential energy profiles of heterostructure are compared with the band simulation, and evidences of two-dimensional hole gas (2DHG) in a wurtzite AlGaN/ AlN/ GaN superlattice, as well as quasi two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) in a zinc-blende AlGaN/GaN are found. The large polarization discontinuity of AlN/GaN is the main source of the 2DHG of wurtzite nitrides, while the impurity introduced during the growth of AlGaN layer provides the donor states that to a great extent balance the free electrons in zinc-blende nitrides. It is also found that the quasi-2DEG concentration in zinc-blende AlGaN/GaN is about one order of magnitude lower than the wurtzite AlGaN/GaN, due to the absence of polarization. Finally, the InAlN/GaN lattice-matched epitaxy, which ideally has a zero piezoelectric polarization and strong spontaneous polarization, is experimentally studied. The breakdown in compositional homogeneity is triggered by threading dislocations with a screw component propagating from the GaN underlayer, which tend to open up into V-grooves at a certain thickness of the InxAl1-xN layer. The V-grooves coalesce at 200 nm and are filled with material that exhibits a significant drop in indium content and a broad luminescence peak. The structural breakdown is due to heterogeneous nucleation and growth at the facets of the V-grooves.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2012

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Electronic and ionic transport in carbon nanotubes and other nanostructures

Description

This thesis describes several experiments based on carbon nanotube nanofludic devices and field-effect transistors. The first experiment detected ion and molecule translocation through one single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) that spans a barrier between two fluid reservoirs. The electrical ionic current

This thesis describes several experiments based on carbon nanotube nanofludic devices and field-effect transistors. The first experiment detected ion and molecule translocation through one single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) that spans a barrier between two fluid reservoirs. The electrical ionic current is measured. Translocation of small single stranded DNA oligomers is marked by large transient increases in current through the tube and confirmed by a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) analysis. Carbon nanotubes simplify the construction of nanopores, permit new types of electrical measurement, and open new avenues for control of DNA translocation. The second experiment constructed devices in which the interior of a single-walled carbon nanotube field-effect transistor (CNT-FET) acts as a nanofluidic channel that connects two fluid reservoirs, permitting measurement of the electronic properties of the SWCNT as it is wetted by an analyte. Wetting of the inside of the SWCNT by water turns the transistor on, while wetting of the outside has little effect. This finding may provide a new method to investigate water behavior at nanoscale. This also opens a new avenue for building sensors in which the SWCNT functions as an electronic detector. This thesis also presents some experiments that related to nanofabrication, such as construction of FET with tin sulfide (SnS) quantum ribbon. This work demonstrates the application of solution processed IV-VI semiconductor nanostructures in nanoscale devices.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2011

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Path integral Monte Carlo simulations of semiconductor quantum dots and quantum wires

Description

he accurate simulation of many-body quantum systems is a challenge for computational physics. Quantum Monte Carlo methods are a class of algorithms that can be used to solve the many-body problem. I study many-body quantum systems with Path Integral Monte

he accurate simulation of many-body quantum systems is a challenge for computational physics. Quantum Monte Carlo methods are a class of algorithms that can be used to solve the many-body problem. I study many-body quantum systems with Path Integral Monte Carlo techniques in three related areas of semiconductor physics: (1) the role of correlation in exchange coupling of spins in double quantum dots, (2) the degree of correlation and hyperpolarizability in Stark shifts in InGaAs/GaAs dots, and (3) van der Waals interactions between 1-D metallic quantum wires at finite temperature. The two-site model is one of the simplest quantum problems, yet the quantitative mapping from a three-dimensional model of a quantum double dot to an effective two-site model has many subtleties requiring careful treatment of exchange and correlation. I calculate exchange coupling of a pair of spins in a double dot from the permutations in a bosonic path integral, using Monte Carlo method. I also map this problem to a Hubbard model and find that exchange and correlation renormalizes the model parameters, dramatically decreasing the effective on-site repulsion at larger separations. Next, I investigated the energy, dipole moment, polarizability and hyperpolarizability of excitonic system in InGaAs/GaAs quantum dots of different shapes and successfully give the photoluminescence spectra for different dots with electric fields in both the growth and transverse direction. I also showed that my method can deal with the higher-order hyperpolarizability, which is most relevant for fields directed in the lateral direction of large dots. Finally, I show how van der Waals interactions between two metallic quantum wires change with respect to the distance between them. Comparing the results from quantum Monte Carlo and the random phase approximation, I find similar power law dependance. My results for the calculation in quasi-1D and exact 1D wires include the effect of temperature, which has not previously been studied.

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Date Created
2011