Tess R. Senty

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Physics and Astronomy

Committee Chair

Alan D Bristow

Committee Co-Chair

Leonardo Golubovic

Committee Member

James P Lewis

Committee Member

Christopher Matranga

Committee Member

D J Pisano


Through careful analysis of a material's properties, devices are continually getting smaller, faster and more efficient each day. Without a complete scientific understanding of material properties, devices cannot continue to improve. This dissertation uses optical spectroscopy techniques to understand light-matter interactions in several oxide materials with promising uses mainly in light harvesting applications. Linear absorption, photoluminescence and transient absorption spectroscopy are primarily used on europium doped yttrium vanadate nanoparticles, copper gallium oxide delafossites doped with iron, and cadmium selenide quantum dots attached to titanium dioxide nanoparticles.;Europium doped yttrium vanadate nanoparticles have promising applications for linking to biomolecules. Using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, it was shown that organic ligands (benzoic acid, 3-nitro 4-chloro-benzoic acid and 3,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid) can be attached to the surface of these molecules using metal-carboxylate coordination. Photoluminescence spectroscopy display little difference in the position of the dominant photoluminescence peaks between samples with different organic ligands although there is a strong decrease in their intensity when 3,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid is attached. It is shown that this strong quenching is due to the presence of high-frequency hydroxide vibrational modes within the organic linker.;Ultraviolet/visible linear absorption measurements on delafossites display that by doping copper gallium oxide with iron allows for the previously forbidden fundamental gap transition to be accessed. Using tauc plots, it is shown that doping with iron lowers the bandgap from 2.8 eV for pure copper gallium oxide, to 1.7 eV for samples with 1 -- 5% iron doping. Using terahertz transient absorption spectroscopy measurements, it was also determined that doping with iron reduces the charge mobility of the pure delafossite samples.;A comparison of cadmium selenide quantum dots, both with and without capping ligands, attached to titanium dioxide nanoparticles is performed using a new transient absorption analysis technique. Multiple exponential fit models were applied to the system and compared with the new inversion analysis technique. It is shown how the new inversion analysis can map out the charge carrier dynamics, providing carrier recombination rates and lifetimes as a function of carrier concentration, where the multiple exponential fit technique is not dependent on the carrier concentration. With the inversion analysis technique it is shown that capping ligands allow for increased charge transfer due to traps being passivated on the quantum dot surface.