Preston T. Snee

Associate Professor

Website: Snee's Group Page


B.S. 1995, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (advisor: Edward T. Samulski); Ph.D., The University of California at Berkeley, 2002; Postdoctoral Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2003-2006.

My research group is focused on the study of energy transfer in semiconductor quantum dots (QDs). We are interested in (1) constructing novel semiconductor nanocrystal material systems to engineer energy transfer processes, (2) developing imaging agents based on our QD constructs and (3) bandgap engineering of doped semiconductors.

snee_fig_1Semiconductor QDs are a unique form of matter, which have a size dependent absorption and emission spectra. As a consequence, the electronic structure follows the quantum "particle-in-a-box" principal- only certain distinct electronic states can be occupied as dictated by the finite size of the crystal. Strongly confined QDs have atomic like density of states and size dependent bandgaps. Further, the crystallinity and organic surface passivation of semiconducting QDs result in very efficient emission quantum yields compared to the bulk materials. As shown here, the emission wavelength can be tuned not only with size, but composition and structure as well.

snee_fig_2Energy Transfer: We are developing methods of conjugating organic molecules to the surfaces of nanocrystals which results in efficient Forster Resonant Energy Transfer (FRET) between the photoexcited NC and the dye. In the course of this work we discovered that we could modulate the efficiency of energy transfer when we coupled a dye which has environmentally sensitive absorption spectra. The result is a naturally self-referencing fluorescent sensor.


1. Anomalous Perturbation of the O2 Sensitivity of Poly(aromatic) Hydrocarbons by Magnetic Quantum Dots. Hassan, A.; Shamirian, A.; Zhang, X.; Snee, P. T. 2017, accepted to J. Phys. Chem. C.
2. Ratiometric QD-FRET Sensing of Aqueous H2S in vitro. Shamirian, A.; Samareh Afsari, H. ; Wu, D.; Miller, L. W.; Snee, P. T., Anal. Chem. 2016, 88, 6050–6056.
3. Arsenic Silylamide: A Safe and Effective Precursor for Arsenide Semiconductor
Nanocrystal Synthesis. Das, A.; Snee, P. T., Chem. Mater 2016, 28, 4058–4064.
4. Ratiometric CdSe/ZnS Nanocrystal Protein Sensor. Tyrakowski, C. M.; Snee, P. T. Anal. Chem. 2014, 86, 2380-2386.
5. Cluster-Seeded Synthesis of Doped CdSe:Cu4 Quantum Dots. Jawaid, A. M.; Chattopadhyay, S.; Wink, D. J.; Page, L. E.; Snee, P. T. ACS Nano, 2013, 7, 3190–3197.
6. Poly(ethylene glycol) Carbodiimide Coupling Reagents for the Biological and Chemical Functionalization of Water Soluble Nanoparticles. Shen, H.; Jawaid, A. M.; Snee, P. T. ACS Nano, 2009, 3, 915-923. 
7. Imparting Nanoparticle Function with Size-Controlled Amphiphilic Polymers. Chen, Y.; Thakar, R.; Snee, P. T. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2008, 130, 3744-3745. 
profile photo

Contact Information

Office: 4176 SES, MC 111
Phone: 312-413-2566