A team of engineers at Washington University in St. Louis has found what they believe is a more stable, less toxic semiconductor for solar applications, using a novel double mineral discovered through data analytics and quantum-mechanical calculations.
Rohan Mishra, assistant professor of mechanical engineering & materials science in the McKelvey School of Engineering, led a widespread team of researchers — including at Washington University, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and at the University of Missouri-Columbia — that studied the structure and properties of the commonly occurring planar defects at the atomic scale, which spans only a few tenths of a nanometer.
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have shed light on a basic process that could improve future solar cells. Dewey Holten, Ph.D., professor of chemistry in Arts & Sciences and graduate student Hee-eun Song have directly measured the rate of hole transfer between identical porphyrin compounds in their ground states. These results are key to understanding the fundamental processes underlying charge separation in this sort of structure and have applications for improving the efficiency of solar cells.