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LGRT Conte BuildingsThe University of Massachusetts Amherst Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) – Polymer-Based Materials for Harvesting Solar Energy, PHaSE – was one of 46 national centers created in 2009 by the U.S. Department of Energy, fully forward-funded upon inception, with support from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). After 30 April 2015, PHaSE made transition to a post-EFRC organization, with researchers from the center continuing to focus basic research to improve photovoltaic devices (the conversion of the sun's energy into electrical power) based on photoactive organic polymers and related composite materials.

The PHaSE team integrated complementary experimental and theoretical expertise of faculty from four different departments at the University – Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, Polymer Science & Engineering – with those of partner investigators from University of Massachusetts Lowell, University of Pittsburgh, and The Pennsylvania State University. Collaborative efforts with researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Rensselaer Polytech, the University of Bayreuth, Seoul National University and Tohoku University further complement and expand the experimental efforts of faculty whose work was associated with PHaSE. The PHaSE over-arching goal was development of polymer-based photovoltaic devices with much improved efficiencies over current organic-based devices. This was achieved by combining the Center's collective expertise in theory and modeling of non-equilibrium structures, applied to the design and synthesis of photoactive polymers, control of polymer-based assembly, and a leadership level of expertise in formulating in nanostructured polymeric materials for use in organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices.

Last update: 30 April 2015