Carlos Lange Bassani received an EAM Starting Grant. This grant is an encouragement for young researchers to venture into inovative and risky projects, and is a stepping stone towards ERC grant applications. Congratulations!
Nanocrystal (NC) superlattices are a novel way to design functional materials. Nanomaterial chemists thrived in forming NCs with controlled size and shape and assembling them into superstructures. Functionality of these materials relies on precise control of NC habits and superstructure formation, as well as on the electronic coupling between NCs –that is, it is an inherently multiscale process–, but multiscale models did not keep pace with recent advances in the field.
The proposed project upscales from atomic to realistic-sized NCs with 10s-of-millions of atoms via rejection-free kinetic Monte Carlo based on the semi-Gibbs ensemble. Of interest is the role of strain accumulation affected by defects, lattice mismatch, and geometric frustration, thus kinetically entrapping NCs into lower symmetry habits –that is, NC shapes that do not comply with the symmetry of the underlying crystalline structure. Coupling with reactor scales (the environment) to understand mass transfer-limited crystallization is also pivotal to predicting the yield of denser NC populations. A multiscale understanding from atom-to-NC-to-environment will optimize NC synthesis conditions and design strategies for new NC habits.