Semiconducting Polymer Assembly and Devices

Polymer-fullerene bulk heterojunction

Our primary work in this area focuses on polymer solar cells, and it is a collaborative effort between the Tolbert group and a number of organic and physical chemists both in our department and at other universities. Work from the Tolbert group falls into two main categories. The first of these is studies of the nanoscale structure found within polymer solar cells, with a goal of understanding how nanoscale architecture in organic systems can be controlled, and how that control can translate into device performance. Our work includes studies of organic photovoltaics and some exciting new work on the structure of doped semiconducting polymers. We also have a significant effort in self-assembling semiconducting polymers. These materials can be used to produce polymer hydrogels, and can form the basis for biomimetic energy transfer cascades. In work recently published in Science that received significant press, we showed that these amphiphilic assemblies can be used to generate very long lived separated charge carriers that could be used for artificial photosynthesis or low cost solar cells.