My anticipated research will focus on designing and fabricating large area nanopatterned metal films for incorporation, as a transparent electrode, into organic solar cells. In addition to replacing brittle, expensive, but commonly-used indium tin oxide (ITO) with a cheaper, flexible option, nanopatterned films will also provide enhancements to device performance through surface plasmonics and hot electron generation. This would enable the use of thinner active layers by improving charge collection without diminishing light absorption, which is the typical tradeoff in organic solar cell optimization. I will investigate the fundamental light-matter interactions and the physical processes governing device performance via an integrated computational and experimental approach. I will develop and optimize a facile and cost-effective fabrication process for large area metallic nanopatterns utilizing a variety of tools, some within the Washington Clean Energy Testbeds. The accomplishment of both of these tasks would have significant impacts in the solar energy field.
Advisor: Qiuming Yu – Chemical Engineering