Vivian Ferry

Vivian Ferry

Assistant Professor
Contact Information
  • B.S., Chemistry, University of Chicago, 2006
  • Ph.D., Chemistry, California Institute of Technology, 2011
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Materials Science Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 2011 - 2014

Research Areas

Recent News:

Research Interests

Our research program broadly studies the interaction between light and nanostructured materials, and particularly focuses on the emergent optical, electrical, and chemical properties of nanoscale materials under light concentration. By tailoring the nanoscale geometry, environment, and complex dielectric function we control the propagation of light in subwavelength dimensions, creating new materials not found in nature and improving our fundamental understanding of light absorption, emission, and carrier collection. These concepts are applied to areas including solar energy conversion, optoelectronic devices, and chemical and biological sensing. We are especially interested in studying plasmonic materials, colloidal nanoparticles, and metamaterials, in addition to their interactions with atoms, molecules, and semiconductors. We design nanostructures using a combination of experimental and theoretical techniques, synthesize our structures using both bottom-up and top-down methods, characterize the electrical and optical properties, and ultimately integrate our designs into functional devices and systems. Our research is highly interdisciplinary and combines principles from physics, chemistry, materials science, chemical engineering, and electrical engineering. Our current research interests include: (1) improving the efficiency and reducing the cost of solar cells through nanophotonic design, (2) enhancing light extraction for solid-state lighting, and (3) three-dimensional self-assembly of plasmonic nanoparticles with novel optical properties.


  • NSF CAREER Award, 2016
  • AFOSR Young Investigator Award, 2016
  • Demetriades-Tsafska-Kokkalis Thesis Award, California Institute of Technology, 2011
  • MRS graduate student Gold Award, Materials Research Society, San Francisco, 2011

Selected Publications

  • Bronstein, N.; Li, L.; Yao, Y.; Xu, L.; Ferry, V. E.; Alivisatos, A. P.; Nuzzo, R. G. Luminescent solar concentration with semiconductor nanorods and transfer-printed micro-silicon solar cells. ACS Nano
  • Scheele, M.; Engel, J. H.; Ferry, V. E.; Hanifi, D.; Liu, Y.; Alivisatos, A. P. Nonmonotonic size dependence in the hole mobility of methoxide stabilized PbSe quantum dot solids, ACS Nano, 2013, 7, 6774 - 6781.
  • Deceglie, M. G.; Ferry, V. E.; Alivisatos, A. P.; Atwater, H. A. Design of nanostructured solar cells using coupled optical and electrical modeling, Nano Lett., 2012, 12, 6, 2894-2900.
  • Ferry, V. E.; Polman, A.; Atwater, H. A. Modeling light trapping in nanostructured solar cells, ACS Nano, 2011, 5, 12, 10055-10064.
  • Ferry, V. E.; Verschuuren, M. A.; van Lare, M. C.; Schropp, R. E. I.; Atwater, H. A.; Polman, A. Optimized spatial correlations for broadband light trapping nanopatterns in high efficiency ultra-thin film a-Si:H solar cells, Nano Lett., 2011, 11, 10, 4239-4245.
  • Aydin, K.; Ferry, V. E.; Briggs, R. M.; Atwater, H. A. Broadband, polarization-independent resonant absorption using ultra-thin, plasmonic super absorbers, Nature Communications, 2011.
  • Ferry, V. E.; Verschuuren, M. A.; Li, H. B. T.; Verhagen, E.; Walters, R. J.; Schropp, R. E. I.; Atwater, H. A.; Polman., A. Light trapping in ultrathin plasmonic solar cells, Optics Express, 2010, 18, 102, A237.
  • Ferry, V. E.; Munday, J. N.; Atwater, H. A. Design considerations for plasmonic photovoltaics, Advanced Materials, 2010, 22, 43, 4794.
  • Ferry, V. E.; Verschuuren, M. A.; Li, H. B. T.; Schropp, R. E. I.; Atwater, H. A.; Polman, A. Improved red-response in thin film a-Si:H solar cells with soft-imprinted plasmonic back reflectors, Appl. Phys. Lett. 2009, *95*, 183503.
  • Ferry, V. E.; Sweatlock, L. A.; Pacifici, D.; Atwater, H. A. Â Plasmonic nanostructure design for coupling light into solar cells, Nano Lett.*,*2008, *8*, 12, 4391-4397.

Contact Information

Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

421 Washington Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455-0132

P: 612-625-1313 | F: 612-626-7246

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