This project focuses on innovations in solar energy conversion that may facilitate non-reliance on solid state architectures

Project Insights

  • €150,000

    Total Project Costs
  • 5 yr

    Project Duration
  • 2017

    Year Funded

Project Description

All solar energy conversion devices harvest light and then separate photoproducts, minimising recombination. Normally charge separation takes place at the surface of nanostructured electrodes, often covered with photosensitiser molecules such as in dye-sensitised solar cells (DSSCs). However, the use solid state architectures made from inorganic materials leads to high processing costs, occasionally the use of toxic materials and an inability to generate a large and significant source of energy due to manufacturing limitations. An alternative is to effect charge separation at electrically polarised soft (immiscible water-oil) interfaces capable of driving charge transfer reactions and easily “dye-sensitised”. Photoproducts can be separated on either side of the soft interface based on their hydrophobicity or hydrophilicity, minimising recombination. Soft-Photoconversion will explore if photoconversion efficiencies at soft interfaces can be improved to become competitive with current photoelectrochemical systems, such as DSSCs. To achieve this goal innovative soft interface functionalisation strategies will be designed. To implement these strategies an integrated platform technology consisting of (photo)electrochemical, spectroscopic, microscopic and surface tension measurement techniques will be developed. This multi-disciplinary approach will allow precise monitoring of morphological changes in photoactive films that enhance activity in terms of optimal kinetics of photoinduced charge transfer. An unprecedented level of electrochemical control over photosensitiser assembly at soft interfaces will be attained, generating photoactive films with unique photophysical properties. Fundamental insights gained may potentially facilitate the emergence of new class of solar conversion devices non-reliant on solid state architectures.

Project Details

Total Project Cost: €150,000

Funding Agency: Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)

Year Funded: 2017

Lead Organisation: University of Limerick (UL)

Mary Shire

Lead Researcher