University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Fulleropyrrolidine Interlayers for High Efficiency Perovskite Solar Cells
Interface engineering is critical for achieving efficient solar cells.  This invention provides a significant power conversion efficiency (PCE) improvement of fullerene/perovskite planar heterojunction solar cells from 7.50% to 15.48% by inserting a fulleropyrrolidine interlayer between the metal electrode and the electron transport layer. The interlayer enhances recombination resistance, increases electron extraction rate and prolongs free carrier lifetime.cells.
Published: 8/11/2017   |   Inventor(s): Thomas Russell, Todd Emrick, Yao Liu, Zachariah Page
Category(s): Devices, Physical Science, Material science, Clean Energy
Efficient Thermoelectric Converters
The invention provides thermoelectric devices similar to conventional Peltier-elements based on folded, multi-layered nanomembranes prepared from 2-dimensional (2D) van der Waals materials. These van der Waals materials (e.g. graphene, hexagonal boron nitride, and transition metal dichalcogenides) have both single atomic layers with strong in-plane covalent bonding and weak bonding across atomic mononolayers. When devices are fabricated by folding monolayers onto themselves and into layered structures (figure). In this configuration, the electric path is shorter and the thermal path is suppressed. Moreover, multiple elements can be combined in series and parallel configurations to produce a useful amount of electricity. Thus, these devices can be used to convert waste-heat into electricity and can also serve a thermoelectric cooler. Some information about different applications here.
Published: 3/8/2016   |   Inventor(s): Zlatan Aksamija, Robert Blick
Category(s): Clean Energy, Devices, Devices & sensors, Electronics, Engineering, Material science, Nanotechnology, Physical Science
Polymeric Interlayer Boosts Performance of Organic Solar Cells
This invention provides new polymeric interlayer materials that can greatly enhance the power conversion efficiency (PCE) of organic or polymer solar cells.
Published: 4/28/2015   |   Inventor(s): Todd Emrick, Thomas Russell, Zachariah Page, Yao Liu
Category(s): Material science, Physical Science, Clean Energy
Enhanced hydrolysis of crystalline cellulose into glucose
Selective hydrolysis of crystalline cellulose into glucose is an important chemical reaction for the production of renewable biofuels and platform chemicals from lignocellulosic biomass. However, hydrolysis of cellulose remains a processing challenge. The current methods are not economically feasible compared to petroleum and the enzymatic catalytic pathway utilizes toxic and corrosive acids. In contrast, this novel invention overcomes these limits via a two-step process for the hydrolysis of crystalline cellulose to increase the efficiency of the acid catalyzed hydrolysis reaction. This prevents re-lamination of the glucan chains thus allowing for a rapid production of water-soluble sugar oligomers. A carbon-based catalyst can then rapidly hydrolyze the water-soluble glucan oligomers to 91.2% glucose yield faster than conventional approaches due to enhanced adsorption of glucan oligomers on the carbon surface.
Published: 4/24/2015   |   Inventor(s): Wei Fan, Paul Jakob Dauenhauer, Paul Dornath
Category(s): Chemicals, Environmental, Engineering, Clean Energy
Organic Photovoltaic Devices Based on Water-based Nanoparticle Dispersions
This invention provides organic photovoltaic devices fabricated using an environmentally friendly fabrication process. To fabricate a solar cell that will power a smart phone using conventional fabrication processes would require 150 milliliter of toxic organic solvents such as chlorobenzene or xylene. The new fabrication process of this invention uses water-based nanoparticle dispersions of active layer materials, and improves device power conversion efficiency over other aqueous- dispersion-based processes by optimizing the domain size and structure of the active layer and other device elements.

Published: 4/22/2015   |   Inventor(s): Dhandapani Venkataraman, Monojit Bag, Timothy Gehan, Christie Cutting
Category(s): Devices, Engineering, Nanotechnology, Physical Science, Clean Energy
Economical Buffer Layer Boosts Performance of Organic Solar Cells
New compositions of matter have been invented, specifically organic buffer layer materials that can greatly enhance power conversion efficiency (PCE) of organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices and can effectively functionalize metal electrodes. Conventional-architecture OPV devices made using the new buffer layer have average PCEs greater than 8%, with the highest PCE value exceeding 9.5%. This new buffer layer can be used with Ag, Cu, and Au cathodes, opening routes to all-solution-based device fabrication and roll-to-roll processing. In addition, the new buffer layer materials can be applied at a layer thickness of up to 55 nm, avoiding processing challenges that occur with ultrathin buffer layers and enabling a simplified and reproducible process for device fabrication.
Published: 12/1/2014   |   Inventor(s): Todd Emrick, Thomas Russell, Zachariah Page, Yao Liu
Category(s): Physical Science, Material science, Clean Energy, Devices
Enhanced Charge Transport Through Nanoconfinement
A team of accomplished researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has discovered a novel pathway for enhancing anhydrous proton transport in polymeric materials. This pathway entails generating supramolecular nanoscale confinement in polymers containing anhydrous proton transport functionalities. By carefully designing the polymer structures, the proton transport moieties of the polymers can be confined and organized within the nanoscale domains of the polymers via self-assembly, resulting in enhanced proton transport capabilities. This enhancement improves the conductivity of the polymers by 2-3 orders of magnitude. The high conductivities observed for the polymers with nanoconfinements are correlated with their ability to form locally high concentrations of proton transport moieties. These polymers allow high conductivities at high temperatures, which can increase fuel cell efficiency, lower cost, simplify heat management, and provide better tolerance of the fuel cell catalysts against poisoning.
Published: 11/19/2014   |   Inventor(s): Ryan Hayward, Sankaran Thayumanavan, Mark Thomas Tuominen
Category(s): Material science, Nanotechnology, Physical Science, Devices, Clean Energy