Jung-Kun Lee has received a National Science Foundation grant for his research into solar cell energy conversion. The grant, Solid State Dye Sensitized Solar Cells Using Tunable Surface Plasmons of Core-Shell Particles, is $290,724 over three years.
The objectives of this research are to develop a fundamental understanding the physical interactions among surface plasmons, solar light modulation, and carrier/exciton generation, and to design the novel plasmonic particles (i.e. metal nanoshell) that enhance light absorption capacity of solid dye sensitized solar cells.
With the advent of semiconductor transistors—invented in 1947 as a replacement for bulky and inefficient vacuum tubes—has come the consistent demand for faster, more energy-efficient technologies. To fill this need, researchers at PQI are proposing a new spin on an old method: a switch from the use of silicon electronics back to vacuums as a medium for electron transport—exhibiting a significant paradigm shift in electronics. Their findings were published in Nature Nanotechnology.
"Physical barriers are blocking scientists from achieving more efficient electronics," said Hong Koo Kim, PQI faculty and principal investigator on the project. "We worked toward solving that road block by investigating transistors and its predecessor—the vacuum."
PQI faculty Paul W. Leu is a recipient of the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Achievement Award. The awards provide seed money for research by junior faculty at Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) member institutions. These awards are intended to enrich the research and professional growth of young faculty and result in new funding opportunities.
A research team at PQI is developing quantum-computing algorithms to better model turbulent combustion in aerospace applications. A five-year U.S. Air Force grant was awarded this month to principal investigator and PQI faculty Peyman Givi, Andrew Daley, and Jeremy Levy.
"If some of the things we are thinking do work and eventually we do achieve this, a process that could take weeks or months will transpire in minutes," said Givi. "It really is a quantum leap."