Nanocrystal-based Dyads for Solar to Electric Energy Conversion 

Group Members: Brian Bloom, Brittney Graff, Emil Wierzbinski

We are exploring charge transfer in nanoparticle-based composites that promise to provide a systematic and modular approach to creating inexpensive photovoltaic materials. More specifically, we are exploring how to promote charge separation and inhibit charge recombination at nanoparticle/nanoparticle (NP/NP) and nanoparticle/conjugated-polymer (NP/CP) interfaces. Our team is investigating how to use energy-level gradients, built-in electrostatic potentials, and symmetry/chirality properties to improve the charge-separation efficiency in inorganic-organic hybrid structures.

We have developed a self-assembly process to create covalently-linked nanoparticles, or dyads, and we are now exploring the electron transfer properties of these nanoparticle dyad systems on their template. We are studying how the electron transfer rate varies with interparticle distance, the electron transfer reaction free energy, and other electronic properties of the nanoparticle and the linker ligands.


Figure 1: Panel A shows a plot of the copper oxide film thickness (thickness was determined by AFM and by ellipsometry) as a function of deposition time- for both the D and L enantiomers. Panel B shows cyclic voltammetry data that displays an enantioselective response for the tartrate oxidation. Note that D-CuO films give the opposite response.