Making solar cells cheaper and more accessible

Problem Title

Making solar cells cheaper and more accessible

Scientific Title

High-Efficiency Organic Photovoltaics through Structural Control of Perylene Diimide Nanoparticles

Student: 
Marco Eres
Major(s): 
Chemistry
iCons Concentration: 
Renewable Energy
iCons Class Year: 
Class of 2015
Executive Summary 

Organic photovoltaics are an integral part of a secure energy future, with the potential to provide inexpensive, non-polluting energy and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Gaining control over the intermolecular structure of perylene diimide nanoparticles will lead to increased efficiency in organic photovoltaic materials, making them more competitive with fossil fuels. Secondary molecules called surfactants may be used to control the structure of organic nanoparticles during the miniemulsion synthesis process; this project addresses the mechanism of nanoparticle formation and the role of surfactant in determining nanoparticle structure.

Unlike other methods of controlling the structure of perylene diimide aggregates, the use of surfactants does not require the perylene diimide to be functionalized to obtain different structures. This project will enable rational control of organic nanoparticle structure without the necessity of functionalization, and will lead to higher efficiency organic photovoltaics. A general method to control the structure of nanoscale organic aggregates would give scientists and engineers molecular control over organic solar cells, enabling new solar technologies that provide inexpensive access to renewable energy sources and reduce our use of polluting fossil fuels.

Problem Keywords: 
nanotechnology
solar
Scientific Keywords: 
nanoparticles
organic photovoltaics
perylene diimide aggregates