Light-Material Interactions in Energy Conversion (LMI)

LMI Header


Ralph Nuzzo

Lead Institution

California Institute of Technology

Year Established



To tailor the morphology, complex dielectric structure, and electronic properties of matter so as to sculpt the flow of sunlight and heat, enabling light conversion to electrical energy with unprecedented efficiency.

Research Topics

solar (photovoltaic), solar (thermal), solid state lighting, phonons, thermal conductivity, defects, mechanical behavior, charge transport, optics, mesostructured materials, materials and chemistry by design, synthesis (novel materials), synthesis (self-assembly), synthesis (scalable processing) 

Materials Studied

Materials: semiconductor, wide band-gap semiconductor, metal, oxide, polymer, ceramic, glass, rare earth elements, porous, optoelectronic and metamaterial, transparent conductor

Interfaces: organic/semiconductor, organic/oxide, organic/organic, organic/metal, metal/semiconductor, metal/oxide, semiconductor/semiconductor, solid/solid

Nanostructured Materials: 0D, 1D, 2D, 3D, nanocomposites

Experimental and Theoretical Methods

electron microscopy, scanning probe microscopy, near-field scanning optical microscopy, lithography, monte carlo (MC), quantum mechanics, continuum modeling, mesoscale modeling, finite element method, multiscale modeling, next generation optimization method


Partner Institutions

  • California Institute of Technology
  • Harvard University
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 
  • Stanford University
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

BES Staff Contact

Chris Fecko