David Wei's team works to discover novel electronic and optical properties of metallic and semiconductor nanomaterials and their implications for electronics, photonics, energy, and biomedicine. A fundamental understanding of the structure-dependent localized optical properties of nanostructures with sub-10 nanometer resolution will lead to comprehensive knowledge of the surface plasmon-directed growth of novel anisotropic nanostructures, and design rules for the synthesis and fabrication of hybrid nanostructures with optimized properties for solar energy harvesting, conversion and storage, photocatalysis, and chemical and biological detection. These high impact, interdisciplinary projects combine analytical chemistry, physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry and materials science and engineering.
Industry Expertise (2)
Areas of Expertise (2)
Solar Energy Conversion
Media Appearances (2)
Inspired by Photosynthesis, David Wei Creates Cost-Effective and Sustainable Industrial Chemicals
UF Innovate online
At first glance, it might seem a bit farfetched for a chemist specializing in metallic and semiconductor nanomaterials to cite nature as his primary source of inspiration. But to discover the next big innovation in clean energy, David Wei, an associate professor in the University of Florida Department of Chemistry, turned to plants — arguably the best examples of nanotech done right.
Setting the Gold Standard
UF News online
A team of University of Florida researchers has figured out how gold can be used in crystals grown by light to create nanoparticles, a discovery that has major implications for industry and cancer treatment and could improve the function of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and solar panels.
Plasmonic metal–semiconductor heterostructures for hot-electron-driven photochemistryMRS Bulletin
Plasmonic nanostructures possess broadly tunable optical properties with catalytically active surfaces. They offer new opportunities for achieving efficient solar-to-chemical energy conversion. Plasmonic metal–semiconductor heterostructures have attracted heightened interest due to their capability of generating energetic hot electrons that can be collected to facilitate chemical reactions.
Plasmonic Photoelectrochemistry: In View of Hot CarriersAdvanced Materials
Utilizing plasmon-generated hot carriers to drive chemical reactions has emerged as a popular topic in solar photocatalysis. However, a complete description of the underlying mechanism of hot-carrier transfer in photochemical processes remains elusive, particularly for those involving hot holes. Photoelectrochemistry enables to localize hot holes on photoanodes and hot electrons on photocathodes and thus offers an approach to separately explore the hole-transfer dynamics and electron-transfer dynamics.
Cooperation of Hot Holes and Surface Adsorbates in Plasmon-Driven Anisotropic Growth of Gold NanostarsJournal of the American Chemical Society
Light-driven synthesis of plasmonic metal nanostructures has garnered broad scientific interests. Although it has been widely accepted that surface plasmon resonance (SPR)-generated energetic electrons play an essential role in this photochemical process, the exact function of plasmon-generated hot holes in regulating the morphology of nanostructures has not been fully explored. Herein, we discover that those hot holes work with surface adsorbates collectively to control the anisotropic growth of gold (Au) nanostructures.
Modulating multi-hole reaction pathways for photoelectrochemical water oxidation on gold nanocatalystsEnergy & Environmental Science
Natural photosynthesis utilizes a redox cascade consisting of enzymes and molecular mediators that trap and stabilize hot carriers to achieve efficient multiple charge transfer. In this aspect, great challenges are facing artificial photochemistry regarding the extremely short lifetimes of photo-generated hot carriers.
Manipulating Atomic Structures at the Au/TiO2 Interface for O2 ActivationJournal of the American Chemical Society
The metal/oxide interface has been extensively studied due to its importance for heterogeneous catalysis. However, the exact role of interfacial atomic structures in governing catalytic processes still remains elusive. Herein, we demonstrate how the manipulation of atomic structures at the Au/TiO2 interface significantly alters the interfacial electron distribution and prompts O2 activation.