LaserLaB Colloquium: Barry Bruce



Vrije Unviersiteit, W&N-gebouw, F123, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam

LaserLaB Colloquium: Barry Bruce

Barry Burce, University of Tennessee at Knoxville




Title: Putting the B into PV


Nature has developed remarkable means for harvesting solar energy to drive the process of photosynthesis. In part the remarkably high quantum efficiency associated with photosynthesis, has been enabled by the successful “division of labor” associated with this process. Specifically, in nature, organisms have evolved largely separate biomolecular structures that have become specialized to either 1) capture photons and facilitate energy transfer via high-efficiency exciton coupling of pigments and 2) a separate structure, known as a reaction center, to convert this exciton into a charge separation that has a quantum yield approaching unity. Interestingly, the light harvesting process has been very adaptive to capture a wide range of solar energy (370 Þ 750 nm Although both the pigments and organization of this light-harvesting complexes demonstrate tremendous diversity, the charge separation process is restricted to only two complexes know as Photosystem II & I. Drawing on the remarkable efficiency, stability, and renewability of these biological complexes, we have begun to investigate their ability to function as both solar luminescent concentrators, as well as photovoltaic devices that can launch electrons into either organic semiconductors such as C60 or Alq3, semi-conductive polymers, or into inorganic semiconductors such as TiO2 and ZnO nanotubes. I will report on the design and fabrication of these biohydrid PV devices and solar concentrators. In addition, I will discuss future designs to further enhance their EQE towards the goal of a truly sustainable and environmentally benign new design of photovoltaic materials. This work has been supported by grants from Army Research Laboratory, the NSF NIRT program, and TN-SCORE.