University of Utah

The Chemistry Department welcomes Luisa Whittaker-Brooks, PhD from the University of Utah to the BYU-Idaho Campus.  Dr. Whittaker-Brooks will be presenting a seminar for all Chemistry, Biochemistry, Chemistry Education Majors and Faculty.  The seminar topic will be Fundamentals, state-of-the-art, and recent trends in nanostructured materials for energy and electronic applications

The seminar will be held in the Romney Building, Room 277, from 2:00-3:00 pm.  Refreshments will be served.

  Luisa Whittaker-Brooks

Department of Chemistry, University of Utah
Nanoscale materials with at least one dimension smaller than 100 nm exhibit remarkable properties that are often not observed for their bulk counterparts. The dramatic modifications to physical and chemical properties at nanoscale dimensions originates from quantum confinement effects, fairly subtle structural changes such as surface reconstruction and lattice expansion/contraction, or the increased contributions from atoms residing on the surface.  Over the past decade, several research directions have been focused on the elucidation of finite size effects in semiconductors; indeed, metal chalcogenides nanostructures such as, CdS, CdSe, PbS, and PbSe represent well-developed examples where remarkable applications in the areas of photovoltaics and thermoelectrics become accessible upon scaling these materials to nanoscale dimensions.   Particularly, to-date, much effort has been devoted to the synthesis and assembly of large bandgap electron and hole transporting materials (i.e., TiO2, ZnO), however these materials still possess limited absorption in the Vis-NIR region.  Conversely, little attention has been paid to the synthesis and assembly of low bandgap inorganic materials as a prospective approach to harvest more sunlight in solar cell devices.  Amongst several low bandgap inorganic materials (i.e., PbSe, PbS, Bi2S3, and PbS), Bi2S3 has been recognized as a key player in the fabrication of devices for solar energy conversion, thermoelectric technologies, and optoelectronics in the IR region due to its low toxicity, low bandgap (1.3-1.7 eV, which facilitates broad coverage of the solar spectrum), and strong absorption coefficient (105 cm-1).  Herein, our talk will describe the synthesis and device assembly of Bi2S3 and Sb2S3 nanostructures as potential low bandgap electron transporting materials for solar cells and waste-heat recovery.  Also, as part of our talk, we will present several of the synthetic strategies we have developed to fabricate undoped and doped metal chalcogenides with excellent optical and electrical properties with the ultimate goal of building solar-thermal hybrid generators. 



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