Alison Funston

Assoc Professor

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Arrays of QD-organic structures – Synthesis, energy transfer and trap states in layered films
Light-responsive films based on hybrid nanocrystal structures
Atomic Structure and Stability of Nanocrystal Facets
Metal Nanocrystals as Optical Waveguides


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

For more information see: Nanoscale Spectroscopy Laboratory (Funston Group) Site

We carry out research into fundamental aspects of energy and electron transfer in nanoscale systems. The systems include nanocrystals of metal and semiconductor quantum dots (QDs), discrete assemblies of nanocrystals, metal nanowires and nanoplates, conjugated polymers, and donor-acceptor systems. We investigate the optical properties of these both at the ensemble and single nanocrystal/assembly level. 

Our research group is part of the newly formed ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science. The primary mission of the centre is to manipulate the way light energy is absorbed, transported and transformed in advanced materials. The materials have application in solar energy conversion, lighting and security.

Our research interests can be grouped into the following areas:

  • Nanocrystal Growth

The synthesis of nanocrystals with high uniformity in both shape and size is a key challenge. Many synthesis of nanocrystals with different morphologies have been achieved. The mechanism of some of these is not fully understood. We focus on understanding the fundamental mechanisms for nanocrystal growth, with a particular interest in the driving forces for the formation of asymmetry in nanocrystals.

  • Self-Assembly of Discrete Nanocrystal Superstructures

The interaction of two or more nanocrystals with each other can lead to dramatic changes in their optical properties. To exploit these effects, assembly of discrete nanocrystal superstructures is required. Our research in this area aims to perform flexible self-assembly methods for discrete nanocrystal superstructures displaying unique optical properties with high control and purity.

  • Interaction of Nanoscale Systems with Light (Spectroscopy)

We investigate the optical properties of nanoscale systems which display unique optical properties with high spatial resolution (single nanocrystals and nanocrystal assemblies, sub-diffraction imaging) as well as high temporal resolution (picosecond time regime) techniques.

The results of our research has application in energy harvesting for solar energy, smart optical films, sensoring, security and functional optoelectronics.

Our research (and group) is multidisciplinary with a focus within chemistry.

More information about our research and collaborators is found on the Research page while our publications can be found on the Publications page.


Dr Alison Funston is a chief investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science and lecturer in the School of Chemistry at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. She received her PhD from The University of Melbourne in 2002, followed by postdoctoral appointments at Brookhaven National Laboratory (with Dr John Miller, 2002-2005) and The University of Melbourne (with Prof. Paul Mulvaney, 2006-2010). She was appointed at Monash University in 2010 and in 2011 was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship. Her research focuses on the synthesis, assembly and spectroscopy of nanoscale systems, including energy transport and optical properties of well-defined assemblies of metal and semiconductor nanocrystals.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy

Research area keywords

  • Electron transfer
  • Energy transfer
  • Metal nanocrystals
  • Nanocrystals
  • Nanoparticles
  • Nanoscience
  • Optical properties
  • Physical chemistry
  • Plasmonics
  • Surface plasmons
  • Self-assembly
  • Gold nanomaterials
  • Gold nanorod
  • Silver nanoparticles
  • Gold nanoparticles
  • CdSe nanocrystals
  • Semiconductor Nanocrystals
  • QD

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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