Title: Improving on One of Mankind's Greatest Inventions: Fixing Nitrogen and the Advent of Plasmonic Photocatalysis
What is mankind's greatest invention? Many candidates come to mind, but perhaps the greatest received two separate Nobel prizes: fixing nitrogen. After exploring the history and importance of an invention that has transformed the modern era, research into a new way for breaking strong molecular bonds will be introduced. Plasmonics involves the strong interaction of light with free electrons in metallic structures. Localized surface plasmon resonances in metallic nanostructures exhibit locally concentrated photon densities and electromagnetic fields while photo-generating hot surfaces and hot carriers. These attributes have been used to accelerate photon emission rates, enhance spectroscopic signatures, cure cancer, and catalyze chemical reactions. Most research in nano-plasmonics has focused on applications in the visible and near infrared using gold and silver, but growing interest in ultraviolet nano-plasmonics for enhanced sensing and efficient photocatalysis requires new materials. This talk will introduce our work on UV nano-plasmonics, searching the periodic table for appropriate metals, patterning them into size- and shape-controlled nanostructures, and using them to catalyze chemical reactions, including nitrogen splitting.
Dr. Henry O. Everitt is a member of the DoD senior executive service (ST) who serves as a chief scientist in the Army's Aviation & Missile RD&E Center and is the Army's principal subject matter expert in optical sciences. He is an experimental physicist who specializes in the spectroscopic investigation of plasmonic nanostructures, wide bandgap semiconductors, gas phase molecular dynamics, and terahertz imaging. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from Duke Univ. in 1990, created major basic research initiatives in nanotechnology, engineered electromagnetic structures, and quantum information at the Army Research Office, authored more than 120 peer-reviewed journal articles, mentored more than 60 student researchers through various adjunct faculty appointments, and is a Fellow of the APS, OSA, AAAS, and the Army Research Laboratory (Emeritus).
*Refereshments will be served prior to the colloquium*