2014 MRS Spring Meeting

20 09 2013

Symposium D: Materials for Photoelectrochemical and Photocatalytic Solar-Energy Harvesting and Storage

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It has been recognized that solar energy will play a critically important role in a sustainable future of humanity. How to harvest solar energy and store it in the form of chemicals for easy transportation and redistribution remains a significant challenge. At the heart of challenge is the lack of suitable materials that can perform the energy-conversion process efficiently and inexpensively. The challenge is particularly acute in approaches based on solution-phase reactions. Compared with solid-state devices such as p-n junction photovoltaic cells, solution-based photoelectrochemical (PEC) solar-energy harvesting processes offer the advantage of low fabrication cost and potential to directly produce fuels, which will solve problems associated with the diurnal nature of sunlight. Examples of solution-based solar-energy conversion approaches include regenerative photoelectrochemical solar cells (such as liquid-junction solar cells, dye- or quantum-dot-sensitized solar cells), photoelectrochemical and photocatalytic water splitting and CO2 photofixation.

To meet the challenge, researchers with diverse backgrounds need to work closely together across different disciplines. This symposium will contribute to such a goal by providing a platform for materials scientists, chemists, physicists and engineers to communicate their vision and the latest exciting new results. Areas to be covered by the symposium will include regenerative photoelectrochemical cells, photoelectrochemical and photocatalytic approaches to water splitting and CO2 photofixation. Because charge behaviors important to solar energy conversion have characteristic lengths on the nanoscale, an emphasis will be placed on the utilization of nanoscale materials such as quantum dots, nanorods, nanowires and hierarchical nanostructures. As organic-dye-based solar cells have evolved into a distinct and flourishing field that is very large, this symposium will not attempt to cover topics related to this approach but instead will focus on emerging new technologies. Speakers from industry and government agencies will also present overviews and perspectives on future solar-energy research.

Topics will include:

  • Photoelectrochemical water splitting
  • Photocatalytic water splitting
  • Regenerative photoelectrochemical solar cells, including quantum-dot-sensitized solar cells, but not dye-sensitized solar cells
  • Photoelectrochemical CO2 fixation
  • Photocatalytic CO2 fixation
  • Artificial photosynthesis

Invited speakers include:

Carlo Bignozzi (Univ. of Ferrara, Italy), Shannon Boettcher (Univ. of Oregon), Emily Cole (Liquid Light), Kazunari Domen (Tokyo Univ., Japan), Heinz Frei (Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis), Joseph Hupp (Northwestern Univ.), Thomas Jaramillo (Stanford Univ.),Edson Leite (Federal Univ. of Sao Carlos, Brazil), Nate Lewis (California Inst. of Technology),Jean Manca (Univ. Hasselt, Belgium), Eric Miller (U.S. Dept. of Energy), Emilio Palomares(Inst. Català d’Investigació Química, Spain), Hakan Rensmo (Uppsala Univ., Sweden), John Turner (National Renewable Energy Lab), Heli Wang (National Renewable Energy Lab),Peidong Yang (Univ. of California, Berkeley), Jinhua Ye (National Inst. for Materials Science, Japan), Xiaolin Zheng (Stanford Univ.).

Symposium Organizers

Dunwei Wang
Boston College
2609 Beacon St.
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Song Jin
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Dept. of Chemistry
1101 University Ave., Rm. 3363
Madison, WI 53706

Juan Bisquert
Universitat Jaume I
Grup de Dispositius Fotovoltaics i Optoelectrònics
Dept. de Física
12071 Castelló, Spain

Joel W. Ager III
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Materials Sciences Division
MS 62R0203
1 Cyclotron Rd.
Berkeley, CA 94720


Symposium B: Organic and Inorganic Materials for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

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This symposium will focus on recent progress, current challenges and future directions for dye-sensitized solar-cell technologies. It is recognized that dye-sensitized solar cell (DSC) is one promising technology to be competitive to traditional energy sources and other energy-conversion devices in the future. However, the relatively low efficiency of energy conversion, inadequate understanding of long-term stability, as well as the corrosive nature of iodide-based redox couple, prevent the mass production of DSCs in the marketplace. Recently, significant breakthroughs in energy-conversion efficiencies up to 12.3% for liquid electrolyte-based DSCs and about 12-14% for perovskite-based solid-state DSCs have led this technology to a new paradigm with commercialization not far away. The symposium aims for discussions on advanced organic and inorganic materials that have the potential to address aforementioned challenges.

Topics will include:


  • Advanced light-harvesting materials (organic/inorganic)
  • Innovative electrolyte or hole-conducting systems
  • Efficient counter-electrode or photocathode materials
  • Novel nanostructured semiconducting materials
  • Charge injection, transport and recombination
  • Device modeling and scale-up

tutorial focusing on fundamentals of advanced light-harvesting materials is tentatively planned. Further information will be included in the MRS Program that will be available online in January.


Invited speakers include:

Juan Bisquert (Univ. Jaume I, Spain), Robert Chang (Northwestern Univ.), Eric Wei-Guang Diau (National Chiao Tung Univ., Taiwan), Arthur J. Frank (National Renewable Energy Lab),Liyuan Han (National Inst. for Materials Science, Japan), Joseph T. Hupp (Northwestern Univ.),Prashant V. Kamat (Univ. of Notre Dame), Zhiqun Lin (Georgia Inst. of Technology), Tingli Ma(Dalian Univ. of Technology, China), Nam-Gyu Park (Sungkyunkwan Univ., Korea), Henry J. Snaith (Univ. of Oxford, United Kingdom), He Tian (East China Univ. of Science and Technology, China), Tomas Torres (Univ. Autónoma de Madrid, Spain), Qing Wang (National Univ. of Singapore, Singapore).

Symposium Organizers

Hongshan He
Eastern Illinois University
Dept. of Chemistry
Physical Science, Rm. 3430
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920-3099
Tel 217-581-6231

Kai Zhu
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Chemical and Materials Science Center
1617 Cole Blvd.
Golden, CO 80401
Tel 303-384-6353, Fax 303-384-6150

Jin Young Kim

Korea Institute of Science and Technology
Photo-Electronic Hybrids Research Center
Hwarangno 14-gil 5, Seongbuk-gu
Seoul 136-791, R.O. Korea
Tel 82-2-958-5368, Fax 82-2-958-6649

Zhixin Zhao
Huazhong University of Science and Technology
Wuhan National Laboratory for Optoelectronics
1037 Luoyu Rd.
430074 Wuhan, China
Tel 86-15972183164, Fax 86-27-87793524



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