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Light Energy Harvesting with Semiconductor Nanostructures


What Does it Cover?

The abundant light energy that we receive from the sun can be readily converted into electrical energy or chemical energy. While silicon solar cell technology is becoming competitive in power generation, new advanced materials are needed to meet the clean energy demand. Recent advances in nanotechnology have championed many new materials to capture and convert light energy. Semiconductor nanostructures with tunable photoresponse can capture the visible and near IR photons quite effectively. Assembling semiconductor nanostructures on electrode surfaces in a controlled fashion is an attractive approach for designing next generation solar cells.

The key advantage of semiconductor nanostructures lies in designing thin film solar cells with low temperature processing. These advantages significantly decrease the energy payback time since less energy is consumed (and hence a lower carbon footprint) during their manufacture. Thin film perovskite solar cells are now considered as the potential contender for photovoltaics. Light induced charge carrier generation and transport across interfaces which are important in the operation of solar cells will be discussed.

 Key Learning Objectives

  • How do semiconductor nanostructures offer new opportunities to tackle clean energy challenge?
  • What are different ways with which we can design light harvesting assemblies for conversion of light energy into electrical energy or chemical energy?
  • What is perovskite photovoltaics and how it can compete with the current photovoltaic technology?


Prashant V. Kamat

Prashant V. Kamat

University of Notre Dame,

Professor of Science

Prashant V. Kamat is Professor of Science in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Radiation Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame. He is also a Concurrent Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Prashant has worked for more than three decades to build bridges between physical chemistry and materials science to develop advanced nanomaterials for cleaner and more efficient light-energy conversion. Throughout his career, he has directed DOE-funded solar photochemistry research, published more than 450 well-recognized scientific papers, and received numerous fellowships and awards. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of ACS Energy Letters.

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