Matthew Pelton

Matthew Pelton-new3 crop-bio
Contact Information


Associate Professor
Chair, Graduate Admissions Committee


Ph.D. Applied Physics – Stanford University, 2002
B.A.Sc. Engineering Science – University of Toronto, 1996

Previous Experience

Before coming to UMBC, I was a scientist in the Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory. After graduate school, I had a brief postdoctoral appointment at the Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, and a longer postdoc at the University of Chicago.

Professional Interests

My research focuses on understanding and controlling what happens when light hits nanoparticles. Semiconductor nanocrystals and metal nanoparticles both interact strongly with light in a way that can be tuned by changing the size, shape, and composition of the particles. Coupling the nanoparticles to one another can lead to new optical properties that are qualitatively different from the properties of any of the components. These opportunities to engineer optical response make the nanoparticles and assemblies of the nanoparticles attractive as the building blocks for a wide range of applications, including the conversion of sunlight into useful energy, detection of biomolecules, and nanoscale photonics. In all of these applications, the nanoparticles absorb energy from incoming light and then transform it, on ultrafast time scales, into a different form of energy: electrical current, mechanical motion, or an altered optical signal. Development thus requires an understanding of the processes that occur after light is absorbed by nanoparticles, on time scales from femtoseconds to nanoseconds. I study these processes using ultrafast laser pulses and optical microscopy.

Selected Publications

M. Pelton and G. W. Bryant, Introduction to Metal-Nanoparticle Plasmonics (John Wiley & Sons, 2013).

M. Pelton, “Modified spontaneous emission in nanophotonic structures,” Nat. Photon. 9, 427 (2015).

E. Baghani, S. K. O’Leary, I. Fedin, D. V. Talapin, and M. Pelton, “Auger-limited carrier recombination and relaxation in CdSe colloidal quantum wells,” J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 6, 1032 (2015).

C. She, I. Fedin, D. S. Dolzhnikov, A. Demortière, R. D. Schaller, M. Pelton, and D. V. Talapin, “Low-threshold stimulated emission using colloidal quantum wells,” Nano Lett. 14, 2772 (2014).

M. Pelton, D. Chakraborty, E. Malachosky, P. Guyot-Sionnest, and J. E. Sader, “Viscoelastic flows in simple liquids generated by vibrating nanostructures,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 244502 (2013).

X. Chen, H.-R. Park, M. Pelton, X. Piao, N. C. Lindquist, H. Im, Y. J. Kim, S. J. Ahn. N. Park, D.-S. Kim, and S.-H. Oh, “Atomic layer lithography of wafer-scale nanogap arrays for extreme confinement of electromagnetic waves,” Nature Commun. 4, 2361 (2013).

R. A. Shah, N. F. Scherer, M. Pelton, and S. K. Gray, “Ultrafast reversal of a Fano resonance in a plasmon-exciton system,” Phys. Rev. B 88, 075411 (2013).

M. Pelton, S. Ithurria, R. D. Schaller, D. S. Dolzhnikov, and D. V. Talapin, “Carrier cooling in colloidal quantum wells,” Nano Lett. 12, 6158 (2012).

B. Wild, L. Cao, Y. Sun, B. P. Khanal, E. R. Zubarev, S. K. Gray, N. F. Scherer, and M. Pelton, “Propagation lengths and group velocities of plasmons in chemically synthesized gold and silver nanowires,” ACS Nano 6, 472 (2012).