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Berger receives $340,000 NSF grant to advance solar cells

Professor Paul BergerPaul Berger, professor of electrical and computer engineering, received a $340,000 three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to fund research to advance the efficiency and functionality of solar cells. James Coe, professor of chemistry at Ohio State, and Suvankar Sengupta, chief technical officer of MetaMateria, are co-principal investigators for the project.

The project, GOALI: Plasmonically Enhanced Bulk Heterojunction Organic Photovoltaics, aims to advance organic solar cells using tailored chemistries of metallic nanoparticles that, when assembled into a thin film, act like tiny lenses across the film surface to focus sunlight onto the light absorption region. When metal nanoparticles are aligned into a perfect periodic checker-board array, they can create a plasmonic resonance leading to a high augmented absorption.

The proposed project will establish a world-class program in polymer solar cells that will advance low-cost polymer solar cells using plasmonics. The development of unique and tailored nanoparticles chemistries with local Columbus company MetaMateria will be a platform technology for other applications, such as fuel cells and water purification.

This project is the third NSF grant currently managed by Berger.