Science and Engineering

University of Texas at Austin

Sean Roberts, Michael Rose, Joel Eaves
Austin, TX
$1,000,000
June 2019

Singlet fission (SF) is a process wherein a molecule in a photoexcited spin-singlet state transfers half of its energy to a neighbor, placing both in an excited spin-triplet state.  As SF uniquely excites 2 electrons from a single photon, it has the potential to break barriers that presently limit the efficiency of light harvesting technologies.  While the possible utility of SF has been recognized for nearly 40 years, semiconductor devices that leverage SF have not emerged.  At the core of this problem is designing effective interfaces that allow spin-triplet excitons (electron-hole pairs) to readily move from an organic SF material to an inorganic semiconductor.  This is a challenging problem, as it requires designed interfacial electronic states to serve as an effective interpreting layer, thus allowing localized molecular states to couple with the delocalized states of a bulk semiconductor.  The complexity of this process has led some to suggest it is intractable.

This multidisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Colorado Boulder is uniquely positioned to tackle the complex problem of triplet transmission across organic|silicon junctions due to their complementary skill-sets.  The work plan will simultaneously employ computational methods to identify ideal energy-transmitting organic|inorganic junctions; use advanced synthetic tools to produce these junctions; and experimentally quantify interfacial energy transfer.  If successful, this project will not only enable design of new high-efficiency solar cells, displays, and LEDs, but also — quite importantly — create a new platform for testing quantum information transfer and spin entanglement phenomena that will further our fundamental understanding of chemical physics.

 

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