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Spin-sensitive ultrafast Terahertz spectroscopy to elucidate exciton dynamics in conjugated polymers

Final Activity Report Summary - TERASPIN (Spin-sensitive ultrafast Terahertz spectroscopy to elucidate exciton dynamics in conjugated polymers)

The main objective of this project was to get me trained on the innovative spectroscopic technique of time domain terahertz (THz) spectroscopy which was applied to the study of conjugated conductive polymers. Therefore, the first months were spent by me in order to learn about this highly innovative technique. To this purpose I started to collaborate on an already started project in the group of Professor Bonn.

This project was focussed on the study of the behaviour of water bound to lipid-membranes. This was a very important topic in biophysics where THz spectroscopy was recently proved to be an invaluable tool for investigating the molecular mechanisms acting in many biologically relevant materials. During this training I started to find very interesting results. I investigated using Thz spectroscopy the influence of membrane confinement on the dynamics of the water hydrogen-bond-network. I found a dramatic suppression of the collective vibrational mode of the hydrogen-bond-network as compared to bulk water. This result could shed light on the role of bound water in the functioning of cell membranes.

During this main project I also studied other materials of interest for my original research activity in Napoli. In particular, I investigated through THz pump-probe spectroscopy the photoinduced conductivity in single crystals of strontium titanate. This material belonged to the family of metal oxides. The latter attracted a great interest from the scientific community for their potentialities in the fabrication of innovative optoelectronic devices. For the first time I measured the photoinduced THz dielectric response of these materials. These data, which I was still analysing by the time of the project completion, would surely shed some light on the elusive nature of the photocarriers in these materials. A better knowledge of the basic transport mechanisms in these materials would give the possibility of tailoring new efficient optoelectronic devices based on metal oxides.