About Dr Asaph Widmer-Cooper

My research expertise is in computational and materials chemistry.

In my group we use mathematical modelling and computer simulations to understand the behaviour of existing materials and to design new materials for solar energy capture, sensing, optics and catalysis. I am especially interested in chemical systems where relatively weak non-covalent interactions play a crucial role in determining their self-organisation and response to external driving forces. For example, questions that we are fascinated by at the moment include: how to make better printable solar cells, how to assemble nanoparticles into useful materials for manipulating light and energy, and how to control the colloidal properties of nanoparticles. The properties of these materials typically depend on the formation of beautiful structures that change with time, and to study them we develop and apply analytical and computational techniques based on statistical mechanics. Computing power continues to grow exponentially, which constantly opens up exciting new problems that can be tackled, and we make extensive use of national supercomputing facilities to perform cutting-edge calculations. Questions that we like to work on are ones that improve our fundamental understanding of matter while at the same time enabling the development of new advanced materials. To inspire this work and to stimulate research on real physical systems we like to work closely with experimentalists.

Asaph is currently a Senior Lecturer, ARC Future Fellow and Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science. Prior to this he held appointments as an ARC Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Sydney, a Visiting Scientist at the ETH Zurich, and a Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he served as part of the Helios Solar Energy Research Center. Over the past 10 years Asaph has been awarded over $3,000,000 in competitive research support. His refereed articles have been cited more than 2500 times, and he has given many invited seminars and talks around the world. Asaph is a regular organiser of scientific meetings, runs a biennial summer school, and is a regular reviewer for high-impact journals including Nature, Nano Letters, ACS Nano, Phys. Rev. Lett. and PNAS.