Assistant Professor


Research in the Son group aims to understand the photophysical mechanisms of how energy and charge flow in molecular, materials, and biological systems, which largely govern their function. To explore these mechanisms and dynamics, we utilize ultrafast optical spectroscopy and microscopy. In addition, we develop new classes of spatially controlled nanomaterials and hybrid photonic materials, also known as polaritons, to explore new photophysical processes and structure-property relationship in these novel systems that are relevant for function and energy production.

Son Group Website


Techniques & Resources

  • The major techniques utilized in the Son group are ultrafast optical spectroscopy and microscopy. Both instruments will have state-of-the-art spectral bandwidth and time resolution (<10 fs, 400-1300 nm) with high-speed, high-sensitivity detection. Transient absorption and multidimensional electronic spectroscopy will measure the photophysics of bulk systems, and microscopy will be used to add spatial resolution to the measured ultrafast dynamics.
  • A range of additional spectroscopic tools, including UV/Vis/NIR absorption, steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence, circular dichroism, electron microscopy, and ellipsometry, will be used to characterize the electronic structure and basic photophysical properties of the sample.
  • For sample preparation, a series of materials science and biochemical tools will be utilized, such as thermal evaporation, spin coating, (ultra)centrifugation, and chromatography.

What’s Next for Graduates of the Son Group?

Group members will obtain a broad range of skills spanning physical chemistry, optics, materials science, and biochemistry. Primarily, they will gain substantial experience in the design, construction, and operation of advanced optical instruments, programming and numerical simulations, and analysis of spectroscopic data. Group members will also have the opportunities to learn fabrication techniques of photonic materials, synthesis/purification of nanomaterials, and handling of biological systems such as photosynthetic proteins.