Dr. Hemali Rathnayake (Western Kentucky) will present “Innovative Energy Harvesting Nanostructures, their Assembly, and Performance towards Multi-Junction Device Architecture” to the department.
Abstract: It is essential to develop novel organic-inorganic hybrid materials having both improved optoelectronic and well defined self-assembly properties. To improve the progress of organic-based devices, synthetic methods need to be developed to make well-defined three-dimensional structures with a controlled size and shape in conjunction with delicately organized self-assembly properties. Here I will discuss novel energy harvesting nanostructures derived from organic polymeric systems, organic-inorganic hybrids, metal-organic hybrid systems and their application for multi-junction organic solar cells. This work will contribute to the fundamental knowledge in this discipline by developing better synthetic methodologies, designing novel hybrid nanostructures, and fabricating low-cost, flexible solar panels with new device architecture. An improvement in efficiency is realized by obtaining nanoscale phase separation using these hybrid materials as well as fine-tuning the band gaps of multi-junction active layers.
Brief Bio: Hemali obtained her Ph.D under the supervision of Prof. Paul M. Lahti, UMass Amherst, Department of Chemistry in 2007. Just after she finished her Ph.D, she joined Emrick’s Research group at Polymer Science & Engineering, UMass Amherst for her postdoctoral research experience. During her Postdoctoral period, she has worked on various projects on developing new polymer-nanocomposites and hybrid nanostructures. In July 2009, she joined the Chemistry department at WKU as an Assistant Professor and currently she is an Associate professor and has a strong materials research group which focuses energy harvesting nanostructures for solar cells and thermoelectric devices.