The Snee Group, UIC Chemsitry

Welcome to the website of the group of Prof. Preston T. Snee of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Our group works under the umbrella of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is a hot topic in science and even in popular literature. Most research groups in nanotechnology tend to either develop novel methods of mechanical manipulation of nanoscale materials or study the effect of size on fundamental properties (also called “quantum confinement”). Our group focuses on both topics by synthesizing new materials which display size dependent properties and then developing techniques to impart function to those same materials.

What are Quantum Dots?

Semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) are bright inorganic luminescent nanocrystals that have photophysical properties that are far superior to organic dyes. First, they are much more stable and do not photobleach like organic fluorophores. Also, they can use almost any excitation source which is not true for most dyes. Unfortunately, the majority of research on semiconductor QDs is done with cadmium-based systems, and cadmium can be quite toxic.

We often find ourselves collaborating with groups to use new materials to address problems in renewable energy and cancer biology. Some of our more notable achievements include delivering quantum dots into the cytosol of cells in collaboration with the group of Anne George of the UIC Dentistry College. We also work with scientists at Argonne National Lab to examine doped semiconductor quantum dots.