Project Summary

A team chemists and material scientists from Rutgers University (RU) and the Tokyo Institute of Technology (TIT) will join forces to study the excited state dynamics of molecules coupled to metal particles and plasmonic arrays. The proposed research has direct impact on chemical sensing, energy conversion (photovoltaics and water splitting) and light emitting devices. It is consistent with the sustainability thrust of the NSF Chemistry Division. The collaborative project was developed during the PI’s stay at the TIT as a JSPS Fellow and finalized when Iyoda, the Japanese PI, visited RU to refine the joint research plans. Preliminary two-way collaborations are already under way. The current proposal builds on the proposal submitted in 2012. The shared scientific goals and broader impacts which will be achieved if the US and Japanese groups work closely together, are emphasized.

Intellectual merit  The central goal of the proposed research is to investigate the electronic and vibrational dynamics of molecules and polymers in proximity to nanostructured metal surfaces and metal particle arrays. The coupling between the molecular transition dipole (or electronic polarizability) and the optical frequency electric field generated by surface plasmons oscillations on the metal leads to enhancements of radiative rates (enhanced absorption and fluorescence) and Raman scattering (SERS) which can be as large as 106. Despite the tremendous interest in chemical applications of these effects and plasmonics in general, little is known about the excited state dynamics near the interface, i.e., the region that determines the efficiency of photon emission (optoelectronics & sensing) and conversion to charge carriers (photovoltaics & photocatalysis). In order to close this knowledge gap, we will employ the complementary expertise and resources at Rutgers & TIT to investigate excited state dynamics in the most promising and challenging systems in which the separation between the molecule and the structured metal surface is less than 10 nm. At these distances the desired enhancement competes with rapid quenching due to electron exchange and energy transfer at the interface. Experiments capable of ultrafast time resolution and sensitivity down to single molecule level are necessary in order to fully characterize such dynamics. Our 3-pronged strategy combines: (1) rational design & synthesis of structured, optically-active metallic assemblies; (2) unique advanced experiments; (3) state-of-the-art quantitative analysis and modeling. All three elements depend on closely interwoven contributions by the US and Japanese collaborators.

Broader impact  The results of the proposed research and the integrated educational activities will have an impact on several areas of technology, human health, work force training and scientific outreach:

●Green energy sources: Optimization of electronic and vibrational lifetimes of dyes and polymers coupled to metallic nanostructures will enable more efficient exciton dissociation in molecular photovoltaics, and light-driven hydrogen production reactions.

●Optoelectronic light sources: Knowledge of the dynamics of spontaneous and stimulated emission from high-gain conjugated polymers and dyes coupled to plasmonic substrates can facilitate the design of organic light-emitting and lasing devices with lower energy consumption.

●Sensing and diagnostics: Gold nanoparticle dimers described in this proposal have already been employed as cell tags for SERS-based cancer screening. These systems hold outstanding potential for further biomedical applications and high sensitivity detection.

●Education and training: The ICC program represents an excellent opportunity to seamlessly integrate research and graduate and undergraduate education and create a cohesive mentoring and training program that brings together students from diverse scientific cultures, preparing them for successful careers in the increasingly integrated modern global economy.


TIT Japan
Prof. Tomokazu Iyoda Prof. Masaaki Fujii Prof. Martin Vacha
Rutgers Univ. USA
Prof. Piotr Piotrowiak Prof. Laura Fabris Prof. Deirdre O' Carroll


2016.2.25 Prof. Keiji Nagai in Iyoda group visited Laura Fabris lab and had a lecture

2016.1.13-15 The 3rd Tokyo Tech-Rutgers Workshop in NAIST (Prof. Hiroko Yamada) in Nara and Exchange Seminar in Wakayama U. (Dr. Hironori Atarashi) in Wakayama(Photo5, Photo6) Link(PDF)

2015.12.16 Piotr Piotrowiak and Masaaki Fujii with J. Tang, B. Zhang organized Symposium of PHYS: Chemical Imaging: Frontiers of Spatio-Temporal Resolution (#134) in International Chemical Congress of Pacific Basin Societies 2015 (Pacifichem, 2015.12.15-20) in Hawaii (Photo4)

2015.11-2016.2 Mr. Katsuya Noji in Iyoda group visited Deirdre O'Caroll lab to do collaborative research on plasmonic property of conjugated polymer/Ag thin film waveguide

2015.9.23 The 2nd Tokyo Tech Team meeting in Masaaki Fujii lab, Tokyo Tech -Suzukake-dai, Yokohama

2015.6-2015.7 Mr. BinXing Yu in Deirdre O'Caroll visited Martin Vacha lab to do collaborative research

2015.6.18 The 2nd Rutgers-Tokyo Tech Workshop in Piotr Piotrowiak Lab, Rutgers U, Newark (Photo3)

2015.6 Iyoda group started to provide Au nanodot/rod array substrate as ICC common sample

2015.4.24 The 1st Tokyo Tech Team meeting in Martin Vacha lab, Tokyo Tech -Ookayama, Tokyo(Photo1,Photo2)

2015.1.15-16 Rutgers-Tokyo Tech Kick-off Meeting in Laura Fabris and Deirdre O’Caroll labs, Rutgers U.-New Brunswick, and Piotr Piotrowiak lab, Rutgers U.-Newark, New Jersay Link(PDF)

2014.12--2015.4 Mr. Yu Mashima in Iyoda group visited Laura Fabris lab to do collaborative research on Au nanoparticle dimes and enhanced fluorescence at the nanogap

2014.3.9 Tokyo Tech-Rutgers Pre-workshop in Tomokazu Iyoda lab, Tokyo Tech -Suzukake-dai, Yokohama



Rutgers Univ. Prof. Piotr Piotrowiak