The PHaSE energy center carries out fundamental photovoltaic-oriented research using organic-based polymers and related materials to maximize efficiency in the collection and harvesting of energy over a broad frequency range of the solar spectrum. The center’s strongly-networked, interdisciplinary teams of researchers seek ways to minimize charge-quenching exciton recombination, to maximize electron transport across inorganic/organic interfaces, and to optimize design and fabrication strategies for making inexpensive photovoltaic devices.
PHaSE Energy Research Group 1 co-ordinator Todd Emrick from the Department of Polymer Science & Engineering has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. His group's PHaSE work includes studies of inorganic-organic composite materials for energy transfer and charge transport, and interlayer materials for tuning electrode work functions in solar cells. [read more]
PHaSE work was highlighted in a report at UMass Amherst's ResearchNext, "Advancing the frontiers of polymer-based photovoltaic research."(Picture credit Amanda Drane UMass '12 [read more]
In joint work, graduate students Feng Liu and Zak Page working with PHaSE senior investigators Todd Emrick, Tom Russell, and Volodimyr Duzhko discovered that conjugated polymers zwitterions (CPZs) can be used as interlayers to reduce the work function of the cathode in bulk heterojunction type organic photovoltaic devices.
PHaSE member Ryan Hayward from the Department of Polymer Science & Engineering has received the 2014 John H. Dillon Medal from the American Physical Society, "for remarkably innovative and creative approaches to the design, realization, and analysis of responsive polymer gels and self-assembled systems". His work with PHaSE has given much insight into polymer and polymer-nanoparticle assembly of electro-active materials. [read more]
Joint work between the Venkataraman, Russell, and Lahti groups has shown that P3HT polymer nanoparticles made with high levels of size control can be "spray painted" into films that transport photo-generated charge as effectively as pristine P3HT spin coated films. This work has great potential for generalization to allow other polymers to be "pre-fabricated" into nanoparticles that can similarly be fabricated, using environmentally friendly, water-based coating techniques. The work was selected as the cover article in its issue of Advanced Materials. [read more]
PHaSE supported work by Ya Liu and Anna Balazs at University of Pittsburgh on designing photoresponsive polymer blends was recently featured on the cover of Langmuir. The work shows a photo-illlumination method to assemble polymers into regular, periodic order (an important goal for photovoltaic design). [read more]
Joint work by Akshay Kokil and senior investigator Jayant Kumar at UMass Lowell, with Paul Homnick and Matt Chudomel of the Lahti group at UMass Amherst, describes a new means to increase photovoltaic conversion efficiencies in Graetzel-type dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs), by using small molecule "push-pull" amines as additives in a redox recharge solution. [read more]
PHaSE Energy Research Group 3 co-coordinator Mike Barnes from the Department of Chemistry has been named the 2014 John Burlew Award winner from the American Chemical Society's Connecticut Valley section. The award recognizes Mike's contributions in the areas of single molecule spectroscopy. Mike also plays a leadership role in PHaSE's nanoparticle and condensed phase photophysics and spectro-structural investigations. [read more]