Contact: Charles Black
Among renewable energy options, sunlight has the highest ultimate power capacity, with a total average solar energy flux of ~30,000 terawatts impacting the land areas of the world. Solar energy has significant potential to contribute to the necessary growth of renewable power, but its high cost compared to fossil fuels and its intermittency pose barriers to widespread utilization. Materials research breakthroughs for cost-effective solar electricity and electrical energy storage, as well as efficient solar-to-fuel conversion are all required for sunlight to assume the role of society’s primary energy source.
The goals of our CFN research program in Electronic Nanomaterials involve implementing nanostructures for photovoltaic, photochemical, and electrochemical energy conversion. Our control of internal nanometer-scale material dimensions provides a vehicle for fundamental understanding of underlying physical mechanisms and a platform for new material and device architectures with improved energy conversion performance over conventional approaches.
Our breadth of scientific expertise positions the CFN Electronic Nanomaterials group to advance this research agenda. Key group strengths include our ability to synthesize new nanostructured forms of both inorganic and organic semiconductors, our leading expertise in nanostructured device fabrication by self assembly, and our experience in traditional high-resolution lithography and nanofabrication. Our research plans highlight an increasing reliance on optical spectroscopy methods for advancing understanding of photoconversion processes. Material and device integration are always the end-goal of our research efforts, uniting our diverse individual interests and skill sets.
The Electronic Nanomaterials Group oversees three significant laboratory facilities available to our User Community. The Nanofabrication Facility supports thin-film material and device processing in a cleanroom environment, as well as electrical device characterization. The Materials Synthesis Laboratories include capabilities for inorganic nanomaterial synthesis by solution-phase chemistry and chemical vapor deposition methods, organic polymer synthesis, as well as thin-film processing of both organic and inorganic thin films. The Ultrafast Laser Spectroscopy Laboratory supports spectroscopy of photoinitiated processes at sub-picosecond time scales.