Electrons, photons and phonons in complex materials

Eric Bittner

University of Houston

Bartomeu Monserrat

University of Cambridge

Thursday 14th March 2019
Time: 4pm
Venue: Ramsay LT, Christopher Ingold Building, UCL, followed by a reception in the Nyholm room
Contact: Karen Stoneham
Tel: 0207 6797306

Eric R. Bittner, FRSC


Eric R. Bittner, FRSC is a theoretical chemist, physicist, and distinguished professor of chemical physics at the University of Houston. Bittner obtained his B.S. in chemistry and in physics from Valparaiso University in 1988.  He worked with John C. Light at the University of Chicago and obtained his Ph.D. thesis in 1994 in quantum scattering theory. Subsequently, he worked at the University of Texas at Austin until 1996 as Postdoctoral Fellow of the National Science Foundation, with Peter J. Rossky as his mentor. He was visiting scholar at Stanford University from 1995 to 1997, with Hans C. Andersen as his mentor. In 1997 he joined the University of Houston as assistant professor of theoretical chemistry and is currently the Moores Professor in Chemical Physics.  Prof Bittner is Guggenheim Fellow, and has held a Fullbright Canada Fellowship. He is also a Fellow of the American Physical Society and  the Royal Society of Chemistry.  He is currently the Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professor in Physics at Durham. His main research interests lie with the dynamics of molecules in their excited electronic states  and broadly include condensed matter physics,  organic photovoltaics, strong coupling, and quantum information.

Bartomeu Monserrat: Optical excitations in solids at room temperature


Technological devices such as solar cells, light emitting diodes, and flat pannel displays rely on the underlying optoelectronic properties of their constituent materials for their optimal operation. Understanding the quantum mechanical processes of light absorption and emission is essential for pushing these technologies forward. In particular, practical devices need to operate around room temperature, requiring a microscopic first principles description that includes the interaction between electron and the crystal lattice.

In this talk, I will describe our recent developments for the study of finite temperature optoelectronic properties in semiconductors, with a particular emphasis on the role of electron-phonon and exciton-phonon interactions. I will illustrate these developments with a range of examples including finite temperature optical absorption across both indirect and dipole forbidden semiconducing gaps, luminescence driven by exciton-phonon coupling in hexagonal boron nitride, and spin-dependent exciton-phonon coupling in organic molecular crystals.


Dr Bartomeu Monserrat is a Winton Advanced Research Fellow working at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge. His research focuses on the development of first principles quantum mechanical methods to study material properties, with a particular emphasis on excitations in semiconductors, topological order, superconductivity, and high pressure physics. He holds a MSci Physics degree from Imperial College London (2011), a PhD in Physics from the University of Cambridge (2015), and spent two years at Rutgers University as a postdoctoral researcher (2015-17). His work was recognised with the 2018 Psi-K Volker Heine Young Investigator Award.

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