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Thrust 1: Advanced Solar Conversion and Innovation
One of the most important challenges facing our society is the development of renewable and environmentally clean energy sources that supplant our reliance on fossil fuels. Hybrid inorganic-polymer composite photovoltaic cells offer the long-term potential of an economically viable alternative for large-scale power generation. At present, limited sunlight absorption and low charge mobilities yield efficiencies of only 4-6% in light-electricity conversion. However, commercializing organic solar cells urgently requires power conversion efficiencies up to ~10%. There is a tremendous demand to predictably create highly effective hybrid active layers for photovoltaic cells. We will pursue three parallel approaches to improve the efficiency and the sustainability of solar cell design: 1) Ultrathin Si Films, 2) Hybrid Organic-Semiconductor, and 3) Novel biohybrid materials for solar energy conversion.

Develop integrated nanostructures with Si Thin films:
      Create Rational Design of the Next Generation Hybrid Organic-Semiconductor Solar Cells
      Pursue Biohybrid Approaches for Solar Energy Conversion

Planned Infrastructure Improvements
      New TEM in Microscopy Facility in SERF
      New FIB in Microscopy Facility in SERF
      Electrochemical work station for CV analysis of electron transport proteins such as hydrogenases and reaction centers
      PV characterization platform for spectral responsivity and current vs. voltage (I-V curves)
      Expanded culture & transformation capabilities for genetic engineering of cyanobacteria
      Enhanced scanning probe microscopy of PV devices
      Enhance protein purification and isotopic labeling for SANS analysis of fusion proteins

Anticipated Outcomes
      Demonstration of new high-efficiency SI-based PV conversion systems
      Development of hybrid organic-semiconductor solar cells
      Discovery and demonstration of bio-based PV conversion materials



      Last Updated May 2012