The Poler Research Group consists of students from the Nanoscale Science Ph.D. program, the Optical Science and Engineering Ph.D. program, the Master’s of Science program in Chemistry, Undergraduates from various disciplines (Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Engineering, and Math), and High School students from around the state. We pursue fundamental studies of molecular and nanoscale systems to understand directed and self-assembly processes. We aim to design new particles and materials with higher functionality and effectiveness. Our long-term interests are toward: novel mechanisms for mechanical transducers and sensors in NEMS, energy storage in supercapacitors, catalytic solar fuel production, water purification, and optical metamaterials.
We start by synthesizing novel coordination complexes that have useful and tunable spectral, electrochemical, and mechanical properties. We synthesize and purify single walled carbon nanotubes. We use various metal nanoparticles, quantum dots, and nanostructured carbons linked together by our coordination complexes to form higher order hybrid-nanomaterials. Some of these novel particles can be assembled into supraparticle assemblies with novel properties and function.
Students in the Poler Research Group use many of the facilities and techniques in the Center for Optics and Optoelectronics, the Regional Analytical Chemistry Lab and the Department of Chemistry. Students are trained in clean room techniques (deposition, etching, growth, characterization). Students use various microscopy techniques including SEM, TEM, AFM, and STM. We use various spectroscopic methods such as: UV-Vis-NIR, Raman, IR, NMR, ESI-MS, circular dichroism, and fluoresce spectroscopy (steady state and time resolved). Materials and dispersions are also characterized by various thermal and mechanical methods including DMA, DSC, TGA, and isothermal titration calorimetry. Students use Static and Dynamic Particle sizing and zeta potential measurements on nanoparticle dispersions. We also support our experimental observations with computational modeling using the Materials Studio suite. We use high level DFT calculations on large cluster systems by running on multiple parallel processors maintained by the High Performance Computing center at UNC Charlotte.