Scientific Work Plan Methods and Means

To implement the scientific work plan, one needs to distinguish between methods and means for designing the nano-systems of interest, methods and means for their nanospectroscopic investigation and modelling, and methods and means of improving the spectroscopic techniques.

Nanosystems design within this Action will include, but not necessarily be restricted to, molecular engineering by targeted synthesis of pi-conjugated polymers and oligomers, cyanine dyes, organic single crystals, supramolecular nanostructured multi-chromophore materials, organic nanoparticles, channel-forming host-guest compounds, organic bulk heterojunction photovoltaic blends, carbon nanotubes in polymeric environments, ferroelectric insulators, fluorescent proteins, biological materials, self-organization of self-assembled monolayers, chemical vapour deposition and molecular beam epitactical growth of II-VI and III-V thin films, colloidal nanoparticles, semiconducting and core-shell nanocrystals, size-selected nanoclusters, top-down nanofabrication of organic/inorganic insulating, semiconducting, metallic, and hybrid nanostructures by electron beam lithography, focused ion beam milling, nanosphere lithography, and nanoimprint lithography. The constituents will be combined to form hybrid materials, and individual elements will be positioned relative to each other by defined placement, lithographic overlay, and self-aligned attachment. The nano-elements may be integrated using optical lithography, metallic contact thin-film deposition, or dielectric embedding, to measure device characteristics. As a means to obtain these structures, clean room facilities will be required. The necessary equipment includes spin-coaters, Langmuir troughs, glove boxes, thin-film evaporators, scanning electron microscopes, dual beam / focused ion beam machines, chemical vapour deposition or molecular beam epitaxy machines, colloidal synthesis flasks, cluster beam deposition, and imprint presses.

Nanospectroscopic techniques that will be applied and further evolved will be based on light sources operating in the ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared frequency range. Methods available through the applicants include extinction/transmission spectroscopy, total internal reflection spectroscopy, dark field scattering spectroscopy, confocal laser spectroscopy, micro Raman spectroscopy, surface-enhanced and tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, pump-probe laser spectroscopy, higher harmonics generation, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, super-resolution and single molecule fluorescence spectroscopy, fluorescence and nanoparticle resonance energy transfer, fluorescence excitation spectroscopy, metal/surface enhanced fluorescence, time-resolved ultrafast / pump-probe spectroscopy, time-correlated single-photon counting, femto-second fluorescence up-conversion, pulse-gated detection, electro-absorption spectroscopy, high spectral resolution nonlinear spectroscopy in the frequency and time domains (spectral hole-burning, optical coherent transients, fluorescence line narrowing), optical-magnetic double resonance spectroscopy, low temperature confocal single-molecule spectroscopy, luminescence emission of plasmonic nanostructures, fluorescence polarization microscopy, and more.

For the theoretical modelling of electromagnetic field distributions as well as charge and energy transfer on the nanoscale, commercial programs and personal coding will be employed, using e.g. density functional theory (DFT), multiple multipole programs (MMP), finite-difference time-domain methods (FDTD), finite element methods (FEM), or finite integration techniques (FIT).

To improve nanospectroscopic instrumentation, initially a list of open issues will be drafted and disseminated. This will include questions of reproducibility, high-resolution large-area imaging, integration times, robustness, data analysis, light sources, etc. As one aspect of instrument development, novel tip-enhanced near-field scanning probes will be developed and evaluated in a tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy setup. Further topics may be addressed depending on the scope of the Participants and interested companies.

Working Groups

The following Working Groups (WGs) will be established to address the differentaspects of the work plan:

WG 0 - "Management": The WG "Management" stays connected with the Participants of the Action with respect to all scientific and networking activities. Management includes soliciting new participants, communication with industry, decisions on and allocation of funds, coordination of dissemination activities, and coordination of the networking activities.

WG 1 – "System design and nanofabrication": The Action will focus on molecular engineering and on hybrid combinations of inorganic/organic, semiconducting/metallic or metallic/metallic nanomaterials. Top-down and bottom-up fabrication of novel well-defined nano-systems and the synthesis of new promising moleIV and II-VI nanocrystals, III-V compounds, specifically designed organic dyes, oligomers and polymers, carbon allotropes, nanoclusters, Au/Ag colloidal particles, and tailored layered, core-shell, or bimetallic nanostructures in different shapes. The different constituents and combinations of the constituents and devices will be provided to WG 2 for investigation and will be further optimized based on the results.

WG 2 – "Physical processes and modelling": To achieve a more in-depth understanding of the transfer of energy and charges in hybrid nano-systems, emission and absorption properties, hybridized states arising from coupling as well as local field effects, such phenomena will be studied experimentally in suitable systems and modelled theoretically (by DFT, MMP, FDTD, REM, FIT, etc.). Interactions will be investigated down to the single hybrid nano-object level. A special focus will be maintained on energy transfer in view of improved device properties for light management (LEDs, photovoltaics, spasers). Materials with promising energy transfer properties will be identified and optimized with respect to the main characteristic parameters.

WG 3 – "Improving spectroscopic techniques": To improve spectroscopic techniques, issues of reliability, reproducibility, large area applications, and data analysis will be addressed. As one example, innovative nanoprobes for tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy will be fabricated and evaluated. Vendors of spectrographs, microscopes, and optical components will be invited to collaborate.

WG 4 – "Preparation of a coherent textbook on optical nanospectroscopy": A coherent table of contents for a nanospectroscopy textbook aimed at ESRs will be devised by this WG and used for approaching renowned publishers. Individual chapters will be assigned to Experts within the Action. The textbook will be published as one objective of this Action.