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Solar energy conversion in molecular and hybrid systems

Molecular-based systems including organic semiconductors (pi-conjugated polymers), metal complexes, organic-inorganic perovskites and other hybrid systems are all of great interest for emerging solar energy conversion applications. Current interests include fundamental investigations of photoinduced processes in a range of applications toward both photovoltaic and photocatalytic applications that go beyond the traditional semiconductors used in most photovoltaics currently available on the market. To study, understand and optimize these systems we apply techniques from femtosecondlaser spectroscopy to single molecule spectroscopy and luminescence microscopy imaging and theoretical quantum chemistry calculations.

Project areas

Fundamental electronic processes in organo-metal halides perovskites and devices based on them

Our aim is to understand the fundamental processes from light absorption and generation of charge carriers to their migration, trapping and recombination in perovskites and other solution-processed semiconductors. Our main tools are ultrafast time-resolved spectroscopy, photoluminescence micro-spectroscopy and imaging.

Electronic processes in pi-conjugated polymers from single molecules to films

We study photoinduced electronic processes in pi-conjugated polymers from single molecules to photo-functional films. Our investigations are currently carried out with a particular focus on the structure-function relationships in complex organic systems. In particular, understanding and controlling of the polymer morphology during solution processing of polymers and their functional blends is of interest for emerging OPV and OLED applications. The investigations include femtosecond spectroscopy, single molecule spectroscopy and microscopy as well as theoretical modelling. Importantly, some studies are carried out on devices including pump-probe spectroscopy on photocells and OPV devices with photocurrent detection.

Photophysics and photochemistry of transition metal complexes (e.g. Iron carbenes) for solar energy conversion and photocatalysis applications

Photophysics and photochemistry of transition metal complexes of interest for solar energy conversion and photocatalysis applications are investigated using a combination of advanced time-resolved spectroscopy and quantum chemistry calculations. Current activities include ultrafast dynamics investigations of charge transfer dynamics involving a range of light-harvesting complexes, including a particular focus on iron N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) and related innovative Earth-abundant light-harvesting complexes of interest for molecular and hybrid/nanostructured  photovoltaics as well as photocatalytic and solar fuels applications.

Fundamental light-harvesting and energy-conversion processes in photosynthetic systems

Through billions of years of evolution nature has found elegant solutions to sunlight collection and conversion to chemical energy. These processes take place inside photosynthetic organisms in highly optimized nano-molecular machines: light-harvesting complexes and reaction centres. We use multidimensional spectroscopies to unravel and understand the complexity of the light absorption, energy transfer and generation of separated charges in these systems. Furthermore, we carry out photocurrent spectroscopy on photocells made of photosynthetic reaction centres to obtain access to spectral dynamics, which is directly related to the functioning of the natural light harvesting. The true nano scale and high efficiency of these primary photosynthetic processes provide and inspiration for the future energy-conversion devices based on nanotechnologies.


Graph of light harvesting complexes and photocurrent spectroscopy

Design and synthesis of iron-based photofunctional organometallic complexes

We are using rational molecular design of ligands to change the photophysical properties of earth-abundant iron complexes to resemble those of the scarce and expensive metal ruthenium that to date has the most advantageous photophysical properties. This is necessary for the use of photofunctional materials on a large scale for the global production of fossil-free energy and production. More specifically we are designing and synthesizing iron N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) and related Earth-abundant light-harvesting and catalytic complexes complexes and as photofunctional materials in solar cells and photocatalyst for hydrogen production.

Influence of Quantum Interference on the Thermoelectric Properties of Molecular Junctions

Molecular junctions offer unique opportunities for controlling charge transport on the atomic scale and for studying energy conversion. For example, quantum interference effects in molecular junctions have been proposed as an avenue for highly efficient thermoelectric power conversion at room temperature. Toward this goal, we investigated the effect of quantum interference on the thermoelectric properties of molecular junctions.

Key faculty

Key Publications

Impact of Excess Lead Iodide on the Recombination Kinetics in Metal Halide Perovskites. Merdasa, A; Kiligaridis, A; Rehermann, C; Abdi-Jaleb, M; Stober, J; Louis, B; Gerhard, M; Stranks, SD; Unger, EL;  Scheblykin, IG. ACS Energy Lett. 2019, 4, 6, 1370-1378. DOI: 10.1021/acsenergylett.9b00774
See article Impact of Excess Lead Iodide at the publisher's site

Mechanistic insights into perovskite photoluminescence enhancement: light curing with oxygen can boost yield thousandfold. Tian, YX; Peter, M; Unger, E; Abdellah, M; Zheng, K; Pullerits, T; Yartsev, A; Sundstrom, V; Scheblykin, IG. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2015,17, 24978-24987. DOI: 10.1039/c5cp04410c

See article Mechanistic insights into perovskite photoluminescence enhancement at the publisher's site

Luminescence and reactivity of a charge-transfer excited iron complex with nanosecond lifetime.

Kjmer, KS; Kaul, N; Prakash, O; Chabera, P; Rosemann, NW; Honarfar, A; Gordivska, O; Fredin, LA; Bergquist, KE; Haggstrom, L; Ericsson, T; Lindh, L; Yartsev, A; Styring, S; Huang, P; Uhlig, J; Bendix, J; Strand, D; Sundstrom, V; Persson, P; Lomoth, R; Warnmark, K. Science, 2019, 363 (6424), 249-253. DOI: 10.1126/science.aau7160

See article charge-transfer excited iron complex at the publisher's site

Identification and characterization of diverse coherences in the Fenna-Matthews-Olson complex. Thyrhaug, E; Tempelaar, R; Alcocer, MJP; Zidek, K; Bina, D; Knoester, J; Jansen, TLC; Zigmantas, D. Nature Chemistry,  10, 780–786 (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41557-018-0060-5
See article characterization of diverse coherences at the publisher's site

Influence of Quantum Interference on the Thermoelectric Properties of Molecular Junctions. Miao, RJ; Xu, HL; Skripnik, M; Cui, LJ; Wang, K; Pedersen, KGL; Leijnse, M; Pauly, F; Warnmark, K; Meyhofer, E; Reddy, P; Linke, H. Nano Lett. 2018, 18, 9, 5666-5672. DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b02207

See article influence of quantum interterence at the publisher's site

Recent theses

Qi Shi, Phase Modulation Two-Photon Microscopy of Hybrid Halide Perovskite, PhD thesis, Lund University 2020
See Qi Shi's thesis at the Research Portal

Junsheng Chen, Photophysics of Perovskite Nano- and Microcrystals, PhD thesis, Lund University 2018
See Junsheng Chen's thesis at the Research Portal

Aboma Merdasa, Super-resolution Luminescence Micro-Spectroscopy: A nano-scale view of solar cell material photophysics, PhD thesis, Lund University 2017
See Aboma Merdasa's , thesis at the Research Portal

Tomas Österman, Excited State Processes in Solar Energy Materials, PhD thesis, Lund University 2013
See Tomas Österman's thesis at the Research Portal