Dmitry Baranov in front of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Hello there! I am Dmitry Baranov, a postdoctoral researcher at the Nanochemistry Department at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genova, Italy, working with Prof. Liberato Manna.

I got my education and early training in chemistry in Russia (B.Sc. 2008, Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia). Early involvement in academic research was one of the requirements at my department (Higher Chemical College of the Russian Academy of Sciences) which I took to the heart by joining a laboratory of Chemistry of Nanomaterials at the Kurnakov Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry in Moscow (Prof. Sergey Gubin, Dr. Gleb Yurkov) working on magnetic nanoparticles and their composites with organic polymers.

Organometallic and cluster chemistry were Prof. Gubin's background (Nesmeyanov's school) thus a view of nanocrystals as inorganic macromolecules was a natural perspective for me to absorb. As an undergraduate student, I was lucky to spend a few summers in the US (with Prof. Shouheng Sun in 2006 and Prof. Ekaterina Kadnikova in 2008) and Germany (with Prof. Michael Giersig in 2007) working on magnetic nanoparticles and surface chemistry of gold colloids, learning about different cultures and the burgeoning field of nanochemistry.

Rainbow of size-dependent photoluminescence of CdSe colloidal nanocrystals.
Size-dependent photoluminescence of CdSe nanocrystals, Lecce, 2009.

Shortly after I graduated from college, I encountered colloidal semiconductor quantum dots, rods, and tetrapods at the National Nanotechnology Laboratory in Lecce, Italy, in my first collaboration with Prof. Manna. I got fascinated by a luminescent rainbow of CdSe nanocrystals and their property to organize themselves into close-packed solids through self-assembly - a balancing act of attractive and repulsive forces.

The next chapter was graduate school, which I pursued at the University of Chicago (M.Sc. 2011, with Prof. Dmitri Talapin) and the University of Colorado Boulder (Ph.D. 2017, with Prof. David Jonas). Working with Prof. Jonas provided me an opportunity to study physical chemistry and optical spectroscopy, so I could figure out why and where the luminescent rainbows and assembly forces are coming from.

Two researchers aligning an optical setup
Aligning the optics in the lab with a fellow PhD student, CU Boulder, 2016.
Laser pulses of different colors reflecting on a viewing card
Colorful output of a non-collinear optical parametric amplifier at CU Boulder, 2016

In grad school, I experimented with femtosecond laser pulses to probe the electronic structure of lead sulfide nanocrystals, which are promising materials for applications in photovoltaics and infrared technologies. You can read more about it in the doctoral dissertation "Synthesis of Lead Sulfide Nanocrystals and Their Two-Dimensional Electronic Spectra in a Spinning Cell."

All in all, the three ropes - nanochemistry, self-assembly, and spectroscopy brought me to my current research about collective properties of light-emitting nanocrystals. When I am not in the lab or behind a laptop, I enjoy watching movies, reading books and playing sports. After moving to Italy I picked up frisbee and joined the local team Basilisks of Genova.

Basilisks at the national championship in Trento, 2019
Many disks of Brussels, 2018