Department of Chemistry
A headshot

Matthew Sheldon
Associate Professor

Other Affiliations
Materials Science & Engineering

Department of Chemistry
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-3255

P: 979-862-3101
F: 979-845-4719

Researcher ID

Current Activities

Our research considers fundamental questions of optical energy conversion relating to plasmonic and inorganic nanoscale materials. Our experiments are principally designed to identify and optimize unique nanoscale phenomena useful for solar energy conversion, as well as related opportunities at the intersection of nanophotonics and chemistry. We employ optical and electrical characterization techniques with high spatial and energy resolution to probe optical excitation and relaxation mechanisms in nanostructured metals and semiconductors.

The current world record solar cell operates at 44.4% power conversion efficiency. Thermodynamic analyses indicate that much higher efficiency is theoretically possible. Indeed, technical challenges, rather than laws of nature, limit current solar power convertors from achieving the maximum thermodynamic efficiency of 95%.

We seek to better understand how nanofabricated optoelectronic and plasmonic materials provide a route to achieve the maximum possible conversion efficiency with solid state and photoelectrochemical systems. We explore how nanostructuring materials enables systematic control of the thermodynamic parameters governing optical power conversion, enabling optimization that can shape, confine, and interconvert the energy and entropy of a radiation field. Additionally, the remarkable nanoscale tailorability of a variety of structural properties, such as electrochemical potential, can further enable novel photochemical systems with broad application beyond the scope solar energy conversion.

We seek students who are interested to gain expertise in inorganic synthesis of nanocrystals with tunable electrochemical and optical structures, nanofabrication, and comprehensive characterization and modeling of optoelectronic structures. Particular emphases are optical absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy, photovoltaic device physics, nanoscale electrical characterization, scanning probe techniques, and optical simulation methods.

Educational Background

B. A., 2004, Carleton College

Ph. D., 2010, University of California, Berkeley

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2010-2014, California Institute of Technology

Awards & Recognition

  • Elected to Executive Committee, Topical Group on Energy Research and Applications (GERA), American Physical Society, 2019
  • Emerging Investigator, Journal of Chemical Communications, 2018
  • Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Inventor Fellow 2017 Award
  • Kaneka Junior Faculty Award, 2017
  • Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Program (YIP) Award, 2015

Selected Publications

  • Roman, B.J.; Sheldon, M.; "The role of mid-gap states in all-inorganic CsPbBr3 nanoparticle one photon up-conversion", Chem Comm, 2018, 54, 6851-6854
  • Wu, S.; Sheldon, M.; "Optical Power Conversion via Tunneling of Plasmonic Hot Carriers", ACS Photonics, 2018, 5, 6, 2516-2523
  • Roman, B.J.; Otto, J.; Galik, C.; Downing, R.; Sheldon, M.; "Au Exchange or Au Deposition: Dual Reaction Pathways in Au-CsPbBr3 Heterostructure Nanoparticles", Nano Letters, 2017, 17, 5561-5566.
  • Sheldon, M.; van de Groep, J.; Brown, A.; Polman, A.; Atwater, H.; "Plasmoelectric Potentials in Metal Nanostructures", Science, 2014, 356, 828-831.