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Thursday, 02 April 2020

First ICN2 #StayAtHome Seminar: Prof. A. Hagfeldt on nanoscale solar energy converters

On March 24, the ICN2 hosted its first #StayAtHome Seminar, welcoming Prof. Anders Hagfeldt, Professor in Physical Chemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), in Switzerland, who gave a talk on nanoscale solar energy converters.

In health emergencies, as the one we are facing these days due to the spread of the COVID-19 infection, new formulae of work organization have to be implemented to keep activities going, while hoping to go back to normal routine as soon as possible. The ICN2, besides encouraging regular meetings between colleagues thanks to various IT tools, has also launched a series of seminars that will be held through web applications.

This initiative, named #StayAtHome Seminars, was launched on March 24 with a talk by Prof. Anders Hagfeldt, Professor in Physical Chemistry at the Laboratory of Photomolecular Science of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), in Switzerland. Prof. Hagfeldt had been invited by Dr Monica Lira-Cantú, leader of the Nanostructured Materials for Photovoltaic Energy group, within the framework of the ICN2 Manuel Cardona Lectures series, but his seminar had to be cancelled due to the recent movement restrictions, so it was rescheduled and held remotely via web.

After an introduction by ICN2 Director Prof. Pablo Ordejón and by Dr Lira-Cantú, Prof. Hagfeldt presented his work on solar energy devices, providing in particular and overview of the interesting characteristics of nanomaterials for solar energy conversion. He started with a summary of the research on dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC) that he carried out with his former colleagues at Uppsala University, Sweden. By using organic dyes based on alkoxy functionalized donor groups they were able to reach the world record efficiency for DSSC of 12.25%.

Then, he explained his work on perovskite solar cells (PSC), for which his group achieved efficiencies above 23% with a mixed composition of iodide/bromide and organic and inorganic cations. Currently, their main focus is on developing passivation interface layers and all-inorganic perovskite materials.

Finally, Prof. Hagfeldt discussed his research on Cu2O photoelectrodes for hydrogen production. The use of CuSCN as the hole transport layer allowed building a standalone solar water splitting tandem cell delivering a solar-to-hydrogen efficiency of 4.55%.

The full video of the seminar is available on the ICN2 Youtube channel and here below.

The first ICN2 #StayAtHome Seminar proved very successful, since over 200 attendants connected remotely. This shows not only the general interest in the topic and the speaker, but also the potentiality of webinars and the related IT platforms. This was only the first one of the series. So, stay tuned for more!