Optical Microscopy Approach to Correlate Structural and Energy Conversion Properties of Nanoscale Materials

Unaltered Image of An integrated photonic circuit wafer by JonathanMarks; The image is a mere example of the types of applications in which this technology is applicable.


Available for Licensing

IP Status

US Utility Patent Pending (Not Yet Published)


Justin Sambur
Li Wang

At A Glance

Researchers at Colorado State University have developed an approach to combine functional data with structural data for a wide range of materials. The approach overlays structural (e.g., electron, scanning probe, or optical microscopy images) and functional images (e.g., PL, Raman, Photocurrent images), which is particularly useful for ultrathin nanosystems (such as 2D transition metal dichalcogenides (MoS2) and perovskite  photovoltaics). The method incorporates novel software as well as hardware modifications to quantitatively and seamlessly screen material performance in a single step.

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Licensing Director

Mandana Ashouri

Reference No.:  19-045

Technology Overview

Novel algorithms along with hardware modifications to the microscopic / spectroscopic apparatus allows for the collection and processing of reflected laser signal.

Figure 1 Structural overlay procedure using TMD features below depicts: A. Bright field optical transmission image of the TMD sample in an iodide electrolyte; B. Photocurrent map; and C. laser reflection map of the same region in (A). Control point pairs labeled 1, 2, and 3 in (A) and (C) represent the centroid position of the same structural features in two different images. D. Quantitative overlay of the optical transmission image onto the photocurrent map (i.e., the color-coded pixels). Red pixels = monolayer thickness, blue pixels = bilayer thickness, and green pixels = multi-layer thickness. The thick symbols represent edge pixels. The interior pixels of multi-layer material were not color-coded for clarity.

  • Fast, efficient screening of materials
  • Simple modification to existing designs
  • Allows for easy to see structure-function relationships

Wang, L.; Sambur, J.B.; “Efficient Ultrathin Liquid Junction Photovoltaics Based on Transition Metal Dichalcogenides” Nano Letters, 2019, 19 (5), 2960–2967.

Last updated: May 2020

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