As energy demands continue to rise, the world is becoming more reliant upon renewable energy resources. Solar energy is very appealing because it has the potential to meet the world’s current energy needs many times over while having little environmental impact. Thin film solar cells (TFSCs) have received a lot of attention because of their flexibility and because they use abundant elements. The efficiency of TFSCs is greatly impacted by the orientation of the absorbing molecule relative to the other layers in the device. Device fabrication can be refined more effectively with detailed understanding of photoreceptor orientation. Due to its high polarization dependence, near edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) is a powerful spectroscopic technique for characterizing molecular orientation on surfaces. Theoretical modeling has a large role to play in the interpretation of complex NEXAFS spectra and will aid in the manufacture of TFSC devices.
Advisor: Xiaosong Li, Chemistry