Technical: This project centers on the fundamental understanding of the band gap engineering of nanowires, the band alignment at the nanowire heterojunction, and their effects on carrier injection and transport. The research aims to engineer both the TiO2 band gap by co-doping and the TiO2 surface with a p-type semiconductor heterojunction for solar cells in order to increase absorption, to separate charge separation via control of band alignment, and to minimize surface recombination. The research activities are at the intersection of physics, chemistry, and engineering, involving density functional theory, material synthesis, device fabrication, and structural and physical property characterizations and modeling. An important project goal is to develop a heterojunction solar cell based on chemically co-doped titania nanotube coated with a solution processed p-type semiconductor.
The project addresses basic research issues in a topical area of materials science with high technological relevance. Energy sustainability is expected to be the main potential benefit to the society of this research project on solar cells. The material systems and devices developed, as well as the fundamental knowledge gained, can be extended to other areas such as solid state lighting, chemical sensing, and flexible electronics. The project provides interdisciplinary training of graduate and undergraduate students.