Research Objectives and Approaches The objective of this research is to investigate theoretically the down-conversion of light in hybrid organic-inorganic metal-semiconductor nanoparticles, containing organic chromophores attached to semiconductor nanocrystals with metallic structures. The approach is to use time-dependent density-functional theory and finite-difference time domain techniques, with main purpose to identify, engineer, and model highly efficient luminescent solar cell concentrators.
Intellectual Merit The intellectual merit is to understand thoroughly the physical mechanism of the down-conversion process in hybrid nanoparticles, which is essential for the optimal solar energy concentration. The reason for including metallic structures is to make use of the giant local electric field enhancement through plasmonic resonances of metallic nanostructures to increase the down conversion rate and therefore also the solar power gain.
Broader Impacts The proposed activity will provide outreach programs through all educational levels, ranging from K-12 to undergraduate and graduate programs. For example, outreach to K-12 will be accomplished through regular participation at the Orlando Science Center. Being diverse will be a priority effort through encouraging women and underrepresented minority groups to participate in the proposed research and education programs. The goal of the proposed research activity is to at least triple the concentration efficiency of existing luminescent solar energy concentrators, thereby reducing the costs of photovoltaic cells significantly, which will encourage many more people to install photovoltaic systems in their own homes, making US less dependent on foreign oil and at the same time supporting the environment and nature through a clean energy source.