Solar Cells are to convert Solar Energy more efficiently
December 12, 2012
Katrin F. Domke who is scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz has been granted 1.6 million euros for conducting research on solar cells.
Mainz. The spectroscopy expert Dr. Katrin F. Domke has received 1.6 million euros from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) for her research on solar cells. With funds from the DFG’s Emmy Noether programme the scientist will set up an independent research group at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPIP). Her studies are centred around molecular processes which are based on conversion of solar energy.
The promotion scheme which is named after mathematician Emmy Noether (1882-1935) uncovers an early opportunity for outstanding young researchers to step into scientific independence.
Solar cells coated with a thin dye layer are less expensive, thin and flexible compared to their counterparts made of silica. However, dye-sensitized solar cells are still lacking energy efficiency. Current prototypes only convert around 10 per cent of solar energy into electricity. “There are complex processes on surfaces of solar cells which have to be better understood in order to develop more efficient solar cells. This is what our research is about”, Katrin F. Domke said. For that purpose she has developed a novel spectroscopy method which allows her to actually watch the behaviour of single molecules during energy conversion in detail on the basis of their chemical fingerprint. Directly watching the complex interaction of the different solar cell compounds is the key to understand energy conversion and enriches first-class photovoltaic research at the MPIP by an innovative attempt.
For a portrait (german) in the newspaper Allgemeine Zeitung you click here.
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