We focus on investigating and controlling light-matter interactions at the nanoscale, and using light to probe local environments. We are particularly interested in understanding the nano- and meso-scale interactions between localized states in materials, and relating these properties with material and device functionality. We do this by correlating spatially-dependent physical properties (e.g. electronic structure) with biological and chemical information (e.g. molecular composition, reaction rates and dynamics) and morphological structure.


Our work is enabled by new multimodal and multidimensional spectroscopic methods that we are continuously developing, which provide unique access to physiochemical behavior at relevant length scales in real environments encountered in energy applications. These efforts are typically grounded in (nano)optical and scan-probe techniques, exploiting the chemical information and high spatial, spectral and temporal resolution afforded by them.

Group News ______________________________________________

News Archive

October 2014 – W. E. Moerner is a winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, for his work in developing “super-resolved fluorescence microscopy”! Congratulations W. E. - extremely well-deserved, and couldn’t go to a better scientist or person.

September 2014 – In a collaboration with Professors Michel Maharbiz (UC Berkeley), Reza Alam (UC Berkeley) and Vikaas Singh Sohal (UCSF), Jim won one of the inaugural BRAINseed awards, given to jump-start bold and innovative approaches to brain research. A press release describing this tri-institution partnership can be found here.

September 2014 – Jim delivered an invited talk at Washington University, St. Louis in the Physics Department’s Condensed Matter Seminar

September 2014 – Along with Jordan Gerton and Markus Raschke, Jim Co-Organized the 13th International Conference on Near-Field Optics, Nanophotonics, and Related Techniques (NFO-13).  The conference, held at beautiful Snowbird Resort in Utah was, by all accounts a resounding success, with more than 300 participants from 30 countries - Many thanks to all involved for making this possible! We are now looking forward to NFO-14 in Hamamatsu, Japan.

August 2014 – Work done with Stefano Cabrini’s group at the Molecular Foundry resulted in a paper, published in the Nature journal Light: Science and Applications, describing an approach for extending the working distance of a near-field tip into any material.  Congratulations to Alex Polyakov on this great work!

July 2014 – Our book chapter “Raman Spectroscopic Imaging of Biological Systems” was published this month in Imaging Life: Biological Systems from Atoms to Tissues, edited by Gary C. Howard, William E. Brown, and Manfred Auer (published by Oxford University Press).

July 2014 – in collaboration with the groups of Jim DeYoreo and Matt Francis, a research article in ACS Nano was published describing the hierarchical Assembly of plasmonic nanostructures using virus capsid scaffolds on DNA origami templates. Congrats to first author Debin Wang!

June 2014 – Jim gave an invited talk, titled "Upconverting Nanocrystals for Deep Brain Probing," at the Sensor Technologies for the Nervous System Symposium, UCSD and Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind, June 4, 2014 

June 2014 – Jim delivered an invited talk “Optical Nanospectroscopic Imaging in Nanophotonic and Optoelectronic Materials” at CLEO/QELS, San Jose, CA, June 11, 2014

April 2014 – Our work on designing the world’s brightest and smallest UCNPs for single-molecule imaging was published in Nature Nanotechnology! Congratulations to Dr. Dan Gargas and Dr. Emory Chan, the co-first authors on this pioneering report.  A press release describing the paper can be found here.