Wim Wenseleers - Research

I started my research at the University of Antwerp (Experimental Solid State and Laser Physics lab of Prof. D. Schoemaker, Prof. E. Goovaerts and Prof. A. Bouwen) as an undergraduate studying ultrafast processes in color centers in alkali halides. Later, as a PhD student, I worked on organic materials for nonlinear optics. As a post-doc at the University of Arizona (Optical Materials and Technology Laboratory of Prof. J.W. Perry and Prof. S.R. Marder) I worked on the design of organic two-photon absorbing materials and their applications. From 2002-2008 I was investigating organic nonlinear optics at the University of Antwerp in the ECM lab of Profs. Goovaerts and Bouwen as a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Fund for Scientific Research - Flanders (Belgium)(F.W.O. - Vlaanderen). In 2008 I was appointed a tenure track research professor position, and got tenured in october 2011. Currently, my two main research lines are the preparation and spectroscopy of carbon nanotubes and other nanostructured materials, and the wavelength dependent investigation of organic nonlinear optics.

Characterisation and Optimisation of Organic Materials for Second and Third Order Nonlinear Optical Applications.

Conjugated molecular systems, especially in polymer materials, are promising novel optical materials. Characterisation of organic molecules designed to possess high non-linear optical polarisabilities is performed with the EFISHG and hyper-Rayleigh techniques.

Two-Photon Absorption and Applications.

This study aims at the design of organic chromophores and materials with strong two-photon absorption, and at the further development of applications of two-photon absorption.

Spectroscopy on Biological Systems.

In collaboration with Dr. K. Ramser (Göteborgs University; currently at Luleĺ University of Technology), and the groups of Prof. S. van Doorslaer (SIBAC lab, UA), and Prof. L. Moens (Biochemistry dept., UA), optical spectroscopic techniques for the in vitro and in vivo study of biological systems are developed, and applied to the study of heme proteins.

Carbon Nanotubes.

Carbon nanotubes are new materials with unique mechanical, electronic, and optical properties. Potential applications range from ultrastrong composite materials to solar cells, nanoelectromechanical devices (NEMS), molecular sensors, field effect transistors etc. However, in actually realising such applications, their processability has been a major obstacle. We explore the solubilization of nanotubes using surfactants, and study their properties by means of various spectroscopic techniques. In particular, our discovery that natural bile salt detergents (the molecules that are present in our intestines to help in digesting fats !) are unusually effective at isolating and "dissolving" nanotubes in water has opened a whole new range of possibilities.

Metal Nanoparticles.

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