In view of depleting fossil energy resources, the development of cheap and flexible alternative energy conversion concepts is vital. Photovoltaic materials, like dye- or quantum-dot sensitized surfaces, or perovskites, that transform sunlight into electricity are a prime example of such alternative concepts. To improve solar cell devices and further the technology toward large-scale application, molecular-scale insight into the physico-chemical properties of the complex sensitizer/electrode/electrolyte system is required.
Our research aims to shed light on solar cell interfacial processes on the nanoscale under operando
conditions to help answer key questions in solar cell development: What is the nature of sensitizer-electrode-electrolyte interactions and their relation to surface morphology? Can device activity be controlled through the presence of defect sites and performance-enhancing molecules or particles? What is the chemical origin of device degradation upon UV irradiation and/or in the presence of oxygen or water?
Correlating known macroscopic device behaviour to molecular-level processes under realistic working conditions enables performance evaluation of solar cell surfaces in an unprecedented detailed manner and paves the way for rational device design.
The SERS signature of PbS quantum dot oxidation
K. Stadelmann, A. Elizabeth, N. Martín Sabanés, K.F. Domke*
Vibrational Spectroscopy 2017, 91, 157-162.