Benedetto DiCiaccio

Mentor: Dr. David Wei
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
 
"I’ve always been interested in how we obtained the knowledge we have today, and research gives me a chance to understand that process. Taking part in research at the undergraduate level is an amazing opportunity and gives me a chance to translate natural curiosities into newfound knowledge and technologies."

Major

Biochemistry

Minor

N/A

Research Interests

  • Plasmonic Nanoparticles

Academic Awards

  • University Scholars Program
  • HHMI Science for Life Intramural Undergraduate Research Award
  • Anderson Scholar of Highest Distinction
  • Dean's List

Organizations

  • American Chemical Society
  • Clarinet Ensemble
  • Wind Symphony

Volunteer

  • Chemistry Outreach
  • Noah's Endeavor
  • Shands Radiology

Hobbies and Interests

  • Music Performance
  • Tutoring

Research Description

Measuring Hot Hole Distributions: Size and Wavelength Dependence

My research aims to characterize the energy distributions of excited electrons and holes in plasmonic nanomaterials. Upon light irradiation, an electron is excited to a higher-level energy state, leaving behind a positively charged region known as a “hole.” It is currently unknown as to whether the “hole” energy remains at the electron’s initial ground state, or if it is excited to a more oxidative potential proportional to the incoming light energy (acting similar to an electron). To answer this question, I will fabricate gold (Au) nanoparticles onto a conductive slide of Indium Tin Oxide (ITO). The Au/ITO slide will be placed into a photo-electrochemical cell to serve as an anode. By measuring the photo-voltages at different wavelengths of light and using electron donors of known redox potentials, I can determine if the “hole” is excited to a more oxidative state and quantify its light dependent redox potential. Understanding electron-hole properties will help in the further applications of nanomaterials in photocatalysis and solar energy harvesting.