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Routes of Captured Light

By following energy flowing through new materials, the next generation of solar cells is being revealed.

It’s hard getting energy out of a solar cell. As excitement builds over the expansion of renewable energy resources, further improvement of the base technologies is being achieved using ultrafast laser techniques to take snapshots of the state of new materials- snapshots only a millionth of a billionth of a second long.

In my research, I am helping build a picture of how captured light’s energy is flowing: where it is getting caught in slow traffic or taking the wrong exit. Up to now we have not been able to achieve a detailed understanding of the fundamental performance of the newest, most promising nanomaterials. By using this ultrafast photoluminescence technique we will be able to design cheaper, more efficient solar cells than ever before. With this information, new materials are being developed with fast tracks for captured light to more efficiently be turned into the electricity we use to power our homes and industries.

The growing challenge of providing energy sustainably motivates the efforts to more effectively harness the energy of the sun. I am working to track motion of energy through materials including nanowires, nanocrystals, and perovskites. I expose these materials to an ultrashort burst of light, which causes photovoltaic materials to absorb and then emit a small portion of the light. By concentrating this emitted light and concentrating a second ultrashort burst together, snapshots of the light emission can be selected out to reveal how energy is moving within the emitting material. By tracking this motion, I hope to discover a means of efficiently capturing the energy from the light absorbed in these materials.

 

Gregory Tainter

NanoDTC PhD Student Cohort 2013

Department of Engineering

 

Cover Image- Paul Reiffer- National Geographic

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Call for Mini Project proposals

Jun 19, 2019

The NanoDTC invites Mini Project proposals from Cambridge Academics for its incoming c2019 cohort. Submission deadline is 11th Oct 2019.

Kevin Lim's paper chosen as the Editor's Pick in APL Materials

Mar 15, 2019

Kevin Lim (c2017) is first author of a paper chosen as an Editor's Pick in APL Materials. The work was done as part of his mini project.

40 new EPSRC studentships for NanoDTC

Feb 04, 2019

We are pleased to announce that EPSRC have awarded a new Nano CDT grant of 40 studentships for training the next generation of interdisciplinary innovative nanoscientists

Midi+PhD Project Proposals from Cambridge Academics

Dec 19, 2018

We are now accepting project proposals for Midi (May-Jul 2019) + PhD projects (starting Oct 2019) for our c2018 students. Deadline 18 Feb.