for Solar Energy
in Dr. Osterloh's group involves the preparation and characterization
of inorganic (nano-)materials and their application to solar energy
conversion and photocatalysis.
In one project we use organic and inorganic materials to
fabricate photovoltaic devices for solar electricity generation. The
goal is to better understand photochemical charge generation and
separation at solid-solid interfaces. This will allow the fabrication
of inexpensive solar cells that are based entirely on abundant
elements. This project is performed in collaboration with Prof. Adam
Moulé in the Chemical Engineering and Materials Science department, and
in collaboration with Richard Brutchey and Stephen Bradforth at the
University of Southern California.
In another project we develop inorganic materials as
photocatalysts for the overall water splitting reaction - a method to
convert solar energy into hydrogen fuel. This project aims at a better
understanding of charge separation at solid-solid and solid-liquid
interfaces, and at the fabrication of more efficient catalysts. Another
goal is to identify methods for safe co-evolution of hydrogen and
oxygen and for separating these gases.
Our materials are prepared by solution-phase and solid-state
methods, and the devices are prepared as thin films or as suspensions.
For physical characterization we employ electron microscopy, powder
X-ray diffraction (XRD), optical spectroscopy, electrochemistry,
photoelectrochemistry, surface photovoltage spectroscopy,
zeta-potential, and irradiation measurements.
Our research is supported by grants from the National
Foundation, Research Corporation for Science Advancement (Scialog
Award), the Petroleum Research Fund administered by the American
Chemical Society, and the California Energy Commission.
For visual examples of the research, please follow the link below to
videos prepared by the members of our group.
Osterlab Research Videos