Metal-Organic Nanosheets for Synchronous Harvest and Storage of Solar Energy
Kezia Sasitharan a, Marina Freitag a
a Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, United Kingdom., Merz Court, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK, United Kingdom
Oral, Kezia Sasitharan, presentation 145
Publication date: 6th February 2024

Third generation solar cells have the potential to provide a viable source of renewable energy to help decarbonize our economy and power wearable devices. With their exceptional performance in diffused light under indoor conditions, dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) remain competitive for powering the next digital revolution forming the internet of things.[1] When integrated with an energy storage system such as an electric double layer capacitor (EDLC), DSCs can offer reliable uninterrupted energy output as a photocapacitor. However, conventional DSCs use liquid electrolyte as the redox mediator, which limits the suitability of the technology for scale up and commercialization. Joining the quest for stable, reproducible solid-state hole transport materials (HTM), we are exploring nanostructured metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). These emerging materials possess the highly ordered structure of inorganic materials combined with the chemically tailorable properties and low cost of organics, and have outperformed their precursors in a wide range of applications.[2]

In my work, I will introduce copper benzenetetrathiol (CuBTT) system with highly efficient redox conductivity as a solid state HTM. We demonstrate that creation of highly interconnected networks of these polymeric nanowires improves the conductivity and when epitaxially assembled, these nanowire architectures infiltrate and form better contact with the dye molecules. We also show that modulator assisted bottom-up synthesis gives stacked 2D layers penetrated by 1D cylindrical channels for ion conduction.  This can act as a suitable interface when the DSC is coupled with an EDLC in a photocapacitor architecture. This work establishes MOF nanosheets as efficient interface materials for solar capture and storage devices.

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