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Wei Xiong of the University of California, San Diego, is the 2023 winner of the Coblentz Award at SciX. Xiong was recognized in a plenary session at SciX on October 9th at 11:00 am for his contributions on the ultrafast dynamics of molecular polaritons (1).
Xiong is a Professor and Kent Wilson Faculty Scholar in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego. His research focuses on using ultrafast nonlinear spectroscopic and imaging tools to reveal molecular structures and dynamics of materials, including ultrafast dynamics of polaritonic systems.
“Polaritons are hybrid quasiparticles between photons and molecules through strong coupling when a carbon atom and an oxygen atom hybridize with each other,” Xiong previously told Spectroscopy (2). “I think our work played an important part on elucidating these questions and additional future work will be pursued to fully understand it.”
Polariton chemistry has proven to be a promising method for modifying chemical reactions under thermally activated conditions. However, there are challenges, such as distinguishing between polaritons and dark modes. Xiong’s research group aims to address these challenges by using ultrafast two-dimensional infrared (2D-IR) spectroscopy to differentiate between polaritons and dark modes. This approach shed light on the roles polaritons play in facilitating intra- and intermolecular vibrational energy transfer. Xiong and his team concluded that polaritons can modify chemical dynamics under strong coupling conditions, while dark modes act similarly to uncoupled molecules without influencing reaction dynamics.