International Collaboration in Chemistry: Molecules at Nanostructured Surfaces for Solar Cell Applications

International Collaboration

Status: finished project
Contract Number:

This US-Spain collaboration is aimed at a systematic improvement in the efficiency of low-cost, dye-sensitized solar cells, as opposed to the traditional Edisonian approach. It uses a tight feedback loop between
i) the synthesis of tailored molecules (dyes, donors, acceptors),
ii) the spectroscopy of their energy levels, and
iii) the theoretical explanation of the spectra, which will be used to identify new molecular structures to be synthesized.

Organic molecules excel not only by their low cost, but they also are extremely versatile and allow a wide variety of chemical modifications. The energy levels can be optimized independently for the absorber, the donor, and the acceptor. They can also be mixed with inorganic nanocrystals for further optimization. The strategy is:
1) to obtain a library of the energy levels in molecules relevant to solar cells.
2) to synthesize tailored molecules, based on trends observed under 1), theoretical predictions from 3), and the capabilities of synthetic chemistry.
3) to perform excited state calculations and analyze the spectroscopic data from NEXAFS and photoemission.
4) to explore changes of the electronic structure near nano-structured electrodes.
5) to explore changes of the molecular electronic structure at metallic contacts.


University of Wisconsin Madison - Franz Himpsel
Unversidad del País Vasco- Angel Rubio/Enrique Ortega
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid - Gema de la Torre

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