Designing media for the local control of nanoscale absorption, transmission, and energy transfer

Jamie M. Leeder, Matthew Coles, Jack S. Ford, David L. Andrews, Jean-Michel Nunzi (Editor), Andreas Ostendorf (Editor)

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Interactions between light and molecular matter featuring photon absorption are commonly associated with excitation of individual chromophores. Subsequent relaxation is achieved through numerous mechanisms, such as scattering and energy transfer to neighbouring chromophores. The efficiency of such processes depends on many factors, including the intensity and wavelength of the optical input, the absorption cross-section of the molecule and the relative orientation of molecular components. New photonic materials are developed on the principle that such factors are controllable, duly tailoring the system to suit new technological applications. The parameters that determine the linear response in multicomponent materials are typically assessed within the theoretical framework of classical optics. However, with improved interest and capability in fabricating nanoscale structures (especially those that exhibit quantum effects), it is becoming increasingly relevant to develop theory that more faithfully represents how individual photons engage with matter. In such constructs, the interaction of materials with optical waves and photons is highly dependent on local molecular environment, therefore surrounding structures and ancillary species exert forms of influence on the photophysical processes inherent within dielectric media. At optical wavelengths where the secondary structure displays little intrinsic optical absorption, the role of such components is often interpreted as modifying the input through a corrective local index of refraction. Although expedient in the discussion of bulk properties of a macroscopic medium, it is reasonably supposed at a local chromophore-photon level that optical mechanisms operate in a different fashion. Using a fully quantized approach to the representation of local molecular electronic structure and electrodynamics, this research develops rigorous theory and a corresponding physical interpretation of how photon absorption, scattering and energy transfer are modified by vicinal, non-absorbing chromophores. The results provide insight into the mechanisms achieved within multi-chromophore systems, highlighting factors that assist in the optimization of optical characteristics in designer materials.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2014


  • Quantum Electrodynamics
  • Absorption
  • Scattering
  • Resonance Energy Transfer

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