Gregory Hartland Receives Prestigious American Chemical Society Award

Author: Rebecca Hicks

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Gregory Hartland, Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame, is the 2021 recipient of the American Chemical Society Division of Physical Chemistry Award in Experimental Physical Chemistry. Hartland, along with other Physical Chemistry Division award winners, will be honored at the Fall 2021 ACS National Meeting.

Hartland was selected for his seminal research into the properties of metal nanostructures, how these structures interact with light and their environments, and the development of new experimental techniques to study them. Specifically, his group was the first to use ultrafast spectroscopy to accurately measure electron-phonon coupling in noble metal nanoparticles and heat dissipation from the particles to their environment. This achievement is critical for optimizing the size of metal nanoparticles used in photodynamic therapy applications. He discovered that ultrafast excitation of metal nanoparticles coherently excites the breathing vibrational modes of the particles which can then be accurately described by continuum mechanics, opening new methods for modeling nanoparticle behavior. Hartland also developed an ultra-sensitive transient absorption microscopy method to interrogate single particles. His group was the first in the United States to do these experiments and the first in the world to apply these measurements to single semiconductor nanostructures. By examining how added mass changes the frequencies of the vibrational modes, these experiments provide a way of potentially creating ultra-small mass balances.

Together with the Kuno group at the University of Notre Dame, the Hartland group has also recently developed a super-resolution IR imaging scheme, where an IR laser source is used to excite a sample, and the consequent heating is monitored by a visible probe. This technique was patented and is becoming widely used in materials science and biological imaging.

Hartland joined the faculty at the University of Notre Dame in 1994 after completing a Ph.D. at UCLA and postdoctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He has been elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2009), the American Chemical Society (2011), and the Royal Society of Chemistry (2014). He is currently the Deputy Editor for The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, which is one of the largest physical chemistry journals in the world.