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David S. Ginger

David S. Ginger, PhD.Alvin L. and Verla R. Kwiram Endowed Professor of Chemistry

Adjunct Professor of Physics

Chief Scientist, UW Clean Energy Institute

Founding Co-Director, Northwest Institute for Materials Physics, Chemistry, and Technology (NW IMPACT)

Washington Research Foundation Distinguished Scholar

Associate Editor, Chemical Reviews
Ph.D. Physics, University of Cambridge, 2001

(Physical and Materials Chemistry, Nanotechnology)

(206) 685-2331

Ginger group website

UW Clean Energy Institute website

NW IMPACT website


Research Interests

The principles and tools of physical and materials chemistry are critical to the energy generation and storage problem. Research in the Ginger lab focuses on the physical chemistry of nanostructured materials with potential applications in low cost photovoltaics (solar cells), energy efficient light-emitting diodes, and novel biosensors. In particular, we study conjugated polymers, semiconductor nanocrystal quantum dots, and plasmon resonant metal nanoparticles. We develop and apply new combinations of scanning probe microscopy and optical spectroscopy (including single molecule techniques) to understand the basic science behind these materials and their applications in devices. We assemble these materials into new structures using Dip-Pen Nanolithography and bio-inspired materials approaches. In general we are interested in the interplay between the organizational structure, the electrical properties, and the optical properties of nanoscale materials, especially as applied to problems of solar energy.


1) Nanoscale Morphology in Conjugated Polymer Blends

we use scanning probe microscopy and other methods to study the local performance of promising solution processable  materials for low-cost solar cells


Conjugated polymers blends are promising materials for the next-generation of low-cost photovoltaic materials. To better understand these materials, we combine optical spectroscopy and scanning- probe methods to study charge separation, recombination and transport as a function of thin film morphology and interfacial chemistry in thin films of organic semiconductors. Dip-Pen Nanolithography is used to generate templates for controlling nanoscale morphology through surface chemistry. We have developed Time-resolved Electrostatic Force Microscopy (EFM) and conducting-probe AFM techniques to characterize charge generation, transport, and recombination, with spatial resolutions better than 50 nm, and time resolutions that are the fastest in the world using these methods.


2) Optoelectronic Properties of Colloidal Quantum Dots

A image of size-dependent fluorescence from quantum dots from blue-red


In addition to conjugated-polymers, we are also interested in semiconductor quantum dots as optoelectronic chromophores, particularly for harvesting of low energy photons for solar energy applications. Our research simultaneously combines both optical spectroscopy to study charge generation and recombination in thin films, with scanning probe methods to explore how local variations in environment can influence these processes. We also investigate the effects of surface chemistry on the optical and electronic properties of the particles that we synthesize, and also study composites of quantum dots with organics that are made possible with novel organic semiconductors synthesized by our collaborators.


3) Near-Field Nanophotonics 



The local electromagnetic field enhancements that occur near metal nanoparticles can be used to tailor the optical properties of nearby chromophores. We use biomaterials and self-assembly methods to create supramolecular clusters of chromophores and metal particles with unique optical properties. These “metachromophores” exhibit optical properties distinct from those that can be obtained with conventional single-component materials and have unique applications ranging from photovoltaics to label free biosensors. We study the assembled structures by using standard absorption and fluorescence techniques, in addition to single molecule fluorescence, single molecule darkfield scattering, and single molecule lifetime measurements.

Representative Publications


Electrochemical strain microscopy probes morphology-induced variations in ion uptake and performance in organic electrochemical transistors Rajiv Giridharagopal, Lucas Q. Flagg, Jeffrey S. Harrison, Mark E. Ziffer, Jonathan Onorato, Christine K. Luscombe, David S. Ginger, Nature Materials 2017, 16, 737–742.  

Impact of microstructure on local carrier lifetime in perovskite solar cells Dane W. deQuilettes, Sarah M. Vorpahl, Samuel D. Stranks, Hirokazu Nagaoka, Giles E. Eperon, Mark E. Ziffer, Henry J. Snaith, David S. Ginger, Science 2015, 348, 683–686.


Reversibly Reconfigurable Colloidal Plasmonic Nanomaterials Zhaoxia Qian, David S. Ginger, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 5266–5276.


Functional Scanning Probe Imaging of Nanostructured Solar Energy Materials Rajiv Giridharagopal, Philip A. Cox, David S. Ginger, Acc. Chem. Res. 2016, 49, 1769–1776.

The role of spin in the kinetic control of recombination in organic photovoltaics
Akshay Rao, Philip C. Y. Chow, Simon Gelinas, Cody W. Schlenker, Chang-Zhi Li, Hin-Lap Yip, Alex K.-Y. Jen, David S. Ginger, Richard H. Friend, Nature 2013, 500, 435–439. 


More publications...


Awards & Activities

  • Elected Member, Washington State Academy of Sciences (2018)
  • Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar TREE Award (2017)
  • Finalist, Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists Chemistry (2016)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow (2012)
  • Microscopy Society of America Burton Medal (2012)
  • Research Corporation Scialog Solar Energy Fellow (2011)
  • American Chemical Society Unilever Award (2008)
  • Alfred P. Sloan Fellow (2007)
  • Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2007)
  • UW Department of Chemistry Outstanding Teaching Award (2007)
  • Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar (2006)
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists & Engineers (2005)
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2005)


More Awards and Activities

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