Amanda Morris Group Spring 2019

The finite supply of fossil fuels and the possible environmental impact of such energy sources has garnered the scientific community’s attention for the development of alternative, overall carbon-neutral fuel sources. The sun provides enough energy every hour and a half to power the earth for a year. However, two of the remaining challenges that limit the utilization of solar energy are the development of cheap and efficient solar harvesting materials and advances in energy storage technology. In my lab, the projects focus on two aspects of solar energy conversion:

Artificial Photosynthetic Assemblies – Natural photosynthetic systems utilize the sun’s energy to transform carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates, nature’s stored solar fuel. Artificial photosynthetic assemblies that can oxidize water and reduce carbon dioxide efficiently to a solar fuel could represent the breakthrough solar power needs to become a viable energy source.

Next Generation Solar Cells – The 2010 total cost of a residential PV system was $6.60/W, more than 4 times the Department of Energy goal of $1.50/W by 2020. The dramatic and quick cost reduction required to reach this goal necessitates the development and demonstration of revolutionary next generation PV technology. In the next generation PV arena, the Morris Group studies two solar cell architectures: (1) Hyrbid Bulk Heterojunction Solar Cells (HBHJs), and (2) Quantum Dot Sensitized Solar Cells.

The research conducted in my labs exists at the intersection of many areas of chemistry (inorganic, organic, materials, analytical, environmental, energy, and nanoscience). The techniques heavily utilized for all projects are: (1) Electrochemistry, (2) Spectroscopy, (3) Surface-probing techniques (attenuated total reflectance infrared spectroscopy (ATR-IR), x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS)), and (4) Materials characterization techniques (scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), x-ray diffraction (XRD)).

We are grateful for funding from: