As the world’s energy needs grow it is becoming more important to focus on developing and advancing renewable energy technologies. The sun produces an immense amount of energy that could potentially be collected and help ease this energy need. My project focuses on the chemistry behind the solution-phase synthesis of nanometer sized zinc phosphide crystals (nanocrystals) for solar light harvesting. Zinc phosphide is a potential low-cost and atom-efficient alternative to crystalline silicon solar cells. A solution-phase synthesis enables low-cost large-area device fabrication, meaning that this earth abundant material has the potential to make a widespread impact on the worlds energy needs. My project started out as a fundamental exploration into the synthesis of zinc phosphide nanocrystals and is now leading towards the fabrication of functioning solar cells. Being a part of the CEI, whose mission is to work towards bringing products to market, is well aligned with my career plan to work in industry where I can see the effect of my research on society.
Advisor: Brandi M. Cossairt, Chemistry