Workshop Details
POSTPONED TO 2021 - Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of Excitons: Bridging the Gap Between Quantum Mechanics and Applications
08/03/2020 - 08/07/2020
Meeting Description:

When light interacts with matter, it can be absorbed to create higher energy (excited) quantum states. These excited states are well-studied for isolated atoms and molecules. But when the light interacts with a collection of absorbing units (for example molecular assemblies, inorganic semiconductor nanocrystals, or a group of biological pigments embedded in a protein) the excited state is an exciton, a collective excitation with new properties that are qualitatively different from those of isolated absorbers. These novel properties include the ability to transport energy over large distances, as well as undergo fission/fusion processes that repackage energy.

There is a new urgency to achieve a quantitative understanding of the structure and dynamics of excitons because they play a key role in vital photonic processes, like solar energy conversion, lasing, and biological light harvesting. However, the fact that the exciton was introduced as a loosely defined virtual particle, often lacking a clear microscopic basis, has hindered the derivation of an unambiguous theoretical description. Furthermore, the large number of atoms involved in systems that exhibit excitonic behavior, like semiconductor quantum dots and light-harvesting membranes, makes first principles ab initio quantum calculations prohibitively expensive. Workers in the field often refer to any excited state in a solid as an “exciton”, making it challenging to compare different experimental results and material properties. For example, physicists usually describe excitons in terms of the Wannier framework of a bound electron-hole pair, while chemists and biologists typically rely on the Frenkel model of interacting multilevel systems.

The goal of this workshop is to focus attention on three key issues that we think can define the field and determine future directions.
1) How big is an exciton? Its spatial extent should determine its most convenient representation in momentum versus real space.
2) How does an exciton move? Excitons can move through both coherent and diffusive motion.
3) What are potential applications of excitons? There may be advantages to energy versus charge manipulation in optoelectronic devices and information processing.

We believe the development of new experimental tools that can capture both spatial and time domain information simultaneously, combined with advances in theory and computation, now make it possible to address these issues in a comprehensive way.


The workshop will invite both theoretical and experimental researchers from diverse fields (physics, chemistry, biology, engineering) whose research centers on gaining better information on the spatio-temporal dynamics of excitons and their novel applications. The workshop is intended to be truly interdisciplinary. While facilitating discussion among different groups, there will be effort to develop common language and concepts that can unify different practitioners. Both fundamental issues entailing quantum mechanical characterization of excitons and practical applications of excitons will be promoted. The workshop also envisions development of a predictive, quantitative understanding of excitons in complex systems that can lead to a unified picture of the light-matter interaction as well as new applications for energy generation, imaging, and information processing.

The registration fee includes two catered on-site lunches and one group dinner event.

We wish to ensure an intimate workshop setting, with no more than 20 to 25 participants. If you are interested in attending, but have not received an invitation, please contact the workshop organizer before registering.

TSRC is about expanding the frontiers of science, exploring new ideas, and building collaborations. The workshop schedule will allow for substantial unstructured time for participants to talk and think. All participants are expected to stay for the entire duration of the workshop.

Scientists are encouraged to consider bringing family or friends. Telluride offers a number of options for children's camps (including Telluride Academy, Ah Haa School for the Arts, and Pinhead Institute). There is more information on childcare, camps, and family activities on TSRC's website at Please contact Cindy Fusting at for more information.

Meeting Venue:

Telluride Intermediate School
725 West Colorado Ave Telluride, CO 81435

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