3 years ago

Ultrafast Electron Dynamics in Solar Energy Conversion

Ultrafast Electron Dynamics in Solar Energy Conversion
Jens Uhlig, Villy Sundström, Pavel Chábera, Petter Persson, Carlito S. Ponseca
Electrons are the workhorses of solar energy conversion. Conversion of the energy of light to electricity in photovoltaics, or to energy-rich molecules (solar fuel) through photocatalytic processes, invariably starts with photoinduced generation of energy-rich electrons. The harvesting of these electrons in practical devices rests on a series of electron transfer processes whose dynamics and efficiencies determine the function of materials and devices. To capture the energy of a photogenerated electron–hole pair in a solar cell material, charges of opposite sign have to be separated against electrostatic attractions, prevented from recombining and being transported through the active material to electrodes where they can be extracted. In photocatalytic solar fuel production, these electron processes are coupled to chemical reactions leading to storage of the energy of light in chemical bonds. With the focus on the ultrafast time scale, we here discuss the light-induced electron processes underlying the function of several molecular and hybrid materials currently under development for solar energy applications in dye or quantum dot-sensitized solar cells, polymer–fullerene polymer solar cells, organometal halide perovskite solar cells, and finally some photocatalytic systems.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.chemrev.6b00807

DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemrev.6b00807

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