Jay Kikkawa

  • 2013 recipient of the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society
  • 2001 William McMillan Award
  • NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award (2001-)
  • Alfred P. Sloan Fellow (2001-02)
  • Research Innovation Award (2000-02)
  • Parsons Foundation Fellow (1994-95)
  • Department of Education Condensed Matter Fellow (1991-93)
  • DuPont de Nemours Graduate Fellow (1991)
  • Elected member Phi Beta Kappa, Harvard College (1991)


  • Professor of Physics, University of Pennsylvania (2012 - )
  • Associate Professor of Physics, University of Pennsylvania (2006-12)
  • Assistant Professor of Physics, University of Pennsylvania (2000-06)
  • QUEST Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of California at Santa Barbara (1997-99)

Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara (1997)
B.S. Harvard (1991)

Research Interests: 


Our experimental group is interested in systems ranging from molecules to nanomaterials to strongly correlated bulk solids, with a special interest in spin and orbital magnetism.  Often our work aims to find new ways to understand these materials by introducing new static and transient optical spectroscopies. Our time-resolved work on colossally magnetoresistive manganites compared spin and charge dynamics and found evidence for photonucleated transitory magnetic ordering using the dynamical magneto-optical Kerr effect. We have developed a method of optical magnetometry to produce background-free measurements of diamagnetic anisotropy in different chiralities of carbon nanotubes, a strategy we are now using for other low dimensional compounds.  We introduced a method of phonon sideband spectroscopy for studying finite-momentum ‘dark’ excitons in carbon nanotubes, and used this technique to provide a comprehensive study of these excitons across a wide range of nanotube chiralities. We have recently developed a sub-picosecond photoluminescence system, which we used to study the Purcell effect in plasmonically enhanced nanowires.   This Kerr gate system is one of only a few in the world and is now being employed to study charge and energy migration in nanocrystal assemblies.  Our lab is currently developing new ultrafast orbital magnetic spectroscopies and high pressure techniques, and has at various times employed a wide range of additional measurements including single molecule photoluminescence and photoconductivity, Raman scattering, circular dichroism, magnetoresistance, thermal conductivity, and transient absorption and Faraday/Kerr effect.


Selected Publications: 


  • P. M. Vora, P. Gopu, M. Rosario-Canales, C.R. Perez, Y. Gogtsi, J.J. Santiago-Aviles, J.M. Kikkawa “Correlating Magnetotransport and Diamagnetism of sp2-Bonded Carbon Networks Through the Metal-Insulator Transition,” Physical Review B 84, 155114/1-8 (2011).
  • C.-H. Cho, C.O. Aspetti, M.E. Turk, J. M. Kikkawa, S.-W. Nam, and R. Agarwal, “Tailoring hot-excitonic emission in semiconducting nanowires via whispering gallery nanocavity plasmons,” Nature Materials 10, 669-675 (2011).
  • G. Grigoryan, Y.-H. Kim R. Acharya, K. Axelrod, R.M. Jain, L. Willis, M. Drndic, J.M. Kikkawa, W.F. DeGrado, “Computational Design of Virus-like Protein Assemblies on Carbon Nanotube Surfaces,” Science 332, 1071-1076 (2011).
  • R. J. Hickey, A. S. Haynes, J. M. Kikkawa, and So-Jung Park, “Controlling the Self-Assembly Structure of Magnetic Nanoparticles and Amphiphilic Block-Copolymers: From Micelles to Vesicles,” J. Am. Chem Soc. 133, 1517–1525 (2011). 
  • S.I. White, P.M. Vora, J.M. Kikkawa, K.I. Winey, “Resistive switching in bulk silver nanowire-polystyrene composites,” Adv. Functional Mater. 21, 223-240 (2011). 
  •      J. Chen, A. Dong, J. Cai, X. Ye, Y. Kang, J.M. Kikkawa, and C.B. Murray, “Collective Dipolar Interactions in Self-Assembled Magnetic Binary Nanocrystal Superlattice Membranes,” Nano Letters 10, 5103-5108 (2010).
  •       P.M. Vora, X. Tu, E.J. Mele, M. Zheng, and J.M. Kikkawa. "Chirality dependence of the k-momentum dark excitons in carbon nanotubes," Phys. Rev. B 81: 155123 (2010).
  •       A. Dong, J. Chen, P.M. Vora, J.M. Kikkawa, and C.B. Murray. "Binary nanocrystal superlattice membranes self-assembled at the liquid-air interface. Nature, 466: 474-477, July 2010.
  • Z. Luo, P.M. Vora, E.J. Mele, A.T. C. Johnson, and J.M.Kikkawa. Photoluminescence and band gap modulation in graphene oxide. Appl. Phys. Lett.94: 111909-111911, 2009.
  • O. N. Torrens, M. Zheng, and J. M. Kikkawa. Energy of k-momentum dark excitons in carbon nanotubes by optical spectroscopy. Physical Review Letters, vol 101, p. 157401 (2008).
  • P.R. Frail, M. Zheng, and J. M. Kikkawa. Energy of k-momentum dark excitons in carbon nanotubes by optical spectroscopy. Physical Review Letters, vol 101, p. 157401 (2008).
  • M.B. Bryning, D. E. Milkie, M. F. Islam, L. A. Hough, J. M.Kikkawa, A. G. Yodh, “Carbon Nanotube Aerogels,” Advanced Materials 19, 661-664 (2007).
  • O.N. Torrens, D.E. Milkie, M. Zheng, J.M. Kikkawa, “Photoluminescence from Intertube Carrier Migration in Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Bundles,” Nano Letters 6, 2864-2867 (2006).
  • M.F. Islam, D.E. Milkie, O.N. Torrens, A.G. Yodh, J.M.Kikkawa, “Magnetic heterogeneity in single-wall carbon nanotubes,” Phys. Rev. B Rapid Communications 71, 201401 (2005).
  • D.E. Milkie, C. Staii, S. Paulson, E. Hindman, A.T. Johnson, J.M.Kikkawa, “Controlled switching of optical emission energies in semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes,” Nano Letters5, 1135-1138 (2005).
  • S.A. McGill, R.I. Miller, O.N. Torrens, A. Mamchik, I-Wei Chen and J.M. Kikkawa, “Optical evidence for transient photo-induced magnetization in La0.7Ca0.3MnO3,” Phys. Rev. B 71, 075117 (2005).
  • J. Vavro, J.M. Kikkawa, J.E. Fischer, “Metal-insulator transition in doped single wall carbon nanotubes,” Phys. Rev. B71, 155410 (2005).
  • M.B. Bryning, M.F. Islam, J.M. Kikkawa and A.G. Yodh, “Very low conductivity threshold in bulk isotropic single wall carbon nanotube epoxy composites,” Adv. Materials 17, 1186-1191 (2005).
  • S.A. McGill, R.I. Miller, O.N. Torrens, A. Mamchik, I-Wei Chen and J.M. Kikkawa, “Dynamic Kerr effect and spectral weight transfer of the manganites,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 47402-47405 (2004).
  • M.F. Islam, D.E. Milkie, C.L. Kane, A.G. Yodh, J.M. Kikkawa, “Direct measurement of  the polarized optical absorption cross-section of single-wall carbon nanotubes,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, p. 37404-37407 (2004).