Speaker Bio and Abstract


Marina S. Leite
Assistant Professor
University of Maryland
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics

Seminar Title

“Nanoscale functional imaging of materials for energy applications"


My research group is engaged in fundamental and applied research in materials for energy harvesting and storage, and nanophotonics. The performance of most photovoltaic devices is still limited by their mesoscale behavior. To resolve how the electrical and optical responses vary at relevant length scales, we acquire nanoscale resolved “photographs” of the performance of inhomogeneous materials for photovoltaics, by means of novel nanospectroscopic methods. Our measurements provide a tomography of charge carrier generation, recombination and collection within materials ranging from well-established thin films to emerging perovskites. In the realm of energy storage, the further development of rechargeable, safe batteries requires the understanding of why and how the material is changing upon charging/discharging. We elucidate the dynamics of lithiation/delithiation in all-solid-state batteries through in situ electron microscopy methods. Finally, concerning optical materials, we overcome the constraint imposed by the pre-defined dielectric functions of noble metals by alloying, where we have recently developed a library of their optical properties. Further, we implemented a novel platform for the design and fabrication of these alloyed thin films and nanostructures with on demand optical response for applications ranging from metamaterials to displays and catalysis.

Speaker Bio

Leite is an Assistant Professor in Materials Science and Engineering, and in the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics (IREAP) at UMD since Aug 2013. Her group investigates materials for energy harvesting and storage, from their nano-scale structural, electrical, and optical properties to their implementation in devices. Before joining UMD, Leite worked for two years at NIST and was a post-doctoral scholar at Caltech (Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science). She received her PhD in physics from Campinas State University in Brazil and the Synchrotron Light Source Laboratory. Leite is the awardee of the 2017 APS Ovshinsky Sustainable Energy Fellowship from the American Physical Society (APS) and of the 2014 Maryland Academy of Sciences Outstanding Young Scientist Award. Collectively, her group members received >40 awards and honors in the last 3.5 years. Her research is currently funded by: NSF-DMR (16-09414), NSF-ECCS (16-10833), Army Research Lab, and the American Physical Society.

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