My research focuses on modifying photovoltaic materials to improve interactions between organic and inorganic components of a device, improving the capability to harvest energy from the sun. Solar cells are generally classified as either inorganic or organic. Inorganic solar cells are made up of metal-based materials, while organic ones are made up of mostly carbon-containing materials. Organic photovoltaic materials have the advantage of being light-weight, flexible, and solution processable, but are poor electron conductors. Metals are great conductors, but are limited by more extreme processing conditions and high cost of installation and shipping due to the weight of the final product.
By installing desirable end-groups on organic semi-conducting polymers, in a way that reduces the use of harsh chemicals and reduces waste, interactions between the organic and inorganic photovoltaic materials can be improved and controlled. Such interactions can be exploited to develop solar cells that incorporate the best of both inorganic and organic type solar cells, moving toward the mass production of solar cells.
Advisor: Christine Luscombe