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Ng, Amy

Research Information

Ph.D. Candidate, Chemistry


Ph.D. Thesis Advisor
Sandra Rosenthal


Semiconductor nanocrystals, or quantum dots, are nanometer-sized crystals that possess amazing properties; some of these include the ability to fluoresce very brightly and size-dependent optical characteristics.  One of the most fascinating aspects of nanocrystals is that with the same material at different sizes, the color of the crystals will appear (and fluoresce) different colors!  Applications of these quantum dots include biological markers, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and solar cells.

My research in the Rosenthal group focuses on using nanocrystals as a component in solar cells, or photovoltaics.  Due to the small nature of the nanocrystals, observing them requires special instrumentation.  Most commonly used is an electron microscope, where the most powerful of them can image single atoms!  With this instrument, nanocrystal photovoltaics can be better characterized.  Alongside the electron microscopes (at Oak Ridge National Lab, VINSE), another instrument key for understanding these devices is focused ion beam (at Middle Tennessee State University), where slivers of solar cells can be taken and analyzed.

My hope is that one day, we will be able to make inexpensive, environmental-friendly nanocrystal photovoltaics available to the general public.  Making solar energy a more prominent resource will help to alleviate many of the energy concerns all over the world. 


Vanderbilt University