RAo group

Exploring Next Generation Energy Materials

From Nanoscale Physics and ChEMISTRY to Devices

Welcome to the website of the Rao Group, based at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge. Our research is focussed on the optical and electronic properties of a new generation of energy materials, for applications ranging from photovoltaics and LEDs to batteries and thermoelectrics.


Elucidating Ultrafast Electronic and Structural Dynamics at the Nanoscale

We are developing and applying new methods to understand the coupled electronic and structural dynamic of charges and excitons in a range of nanoscale materials, such as organic semiconductors, nanocrystals, hybrid organic-inorganic perovskites, 2D semiconductors and more.

Quantum Transport

How do excitons, charges and polaritons move in nanoscale semiconductor? What are the limits for true quantum transport of these excitations and how do they interact with phonons and defects? Our ultrafast transient optical microscopy allows us to image the transport of particles and quasiparticles in real space with sub-10fs time-resolution and sub-10nm spatial precision. This is opening up a previously unexplored and exciting regime of physics.

Nanoscale Ion Transport and Phase Transitions

How do ions move in battery electrodes? What the the limits of fast charging? How do structural changes cause degradation in battery performance? We have developed novel optical light scattering based microscopies which are giving us unprecedented insights into these questions.

New Hybrid Materials and Devices Concepts

We design and fabricate nanomaterials, including lanthanide-doped nanoparticles, colloidal quantum dots and hybrid organic-inorganic systems. We explore the photophysics of these systems using our ultrafast spectroscopy toolkit and also explore their use in next generation of electronic and photonic devices, such as photovoltaics that could break the Shockley-Queisser limit.