Sunday, August 16, 2015

Things Learned & Motivation: Osuji Lab

As with the completion of many tests and trial runs come results. These results helped distinguish which state certain variables should have been set at for optimal results. But, what are these results for? Why should we have an optimal array of nanorod arrays on brass nonetheless?

Inside: Photovoltaic Cell
Over the course of my first two weeks at my internship, I slowly began to understand the worth of our results. By finding stable variants, we could take these optimized arrays and apply them to important devices. One specific device I learned about was “Hybrid Nanocomposite Photovoltaics”. Photovoltaics are devices used to convert sunlight directly into electricity. We want to make these devices more efficient with our research. Photovoltaic efficiency is directly related to the amount of interface contact between the polymer and the semiconductor. When you excite the polymer layer, the first particles from the layer become dipole-induced and expand to about ten nanometers. This length is known as an exciton diffusion length. The semiconductor collects these excitons. By nano-forming these electrodes we can increase the surface area of interface contact. We want to optimize the surface area, keeping in mind that the space between the nanorods cannot be too small. Otherwise, the polymer will not be able to fit in between the rods. For these reasons, I realized that it is important to systematically control the diameter and spacing between the ZnO nanorods for this specific application.

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