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Title: Time Resolved Optical Studies on The Plasmonic Field Enhancement of Bacteriorhodopsin Proton Photo-current: Final Technical Report Covering Aug 31, 2015–Aug 31, 2016

Our research continues to focus on the effects of plasmonic nanoparticles on organic and inorganic light-harvesting materials. Recent work has focused on the synthesis of stabilized gold nanoparticles to enhance the efficiency of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). Two major concerns in dye sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) are efficient light absorption and charge collection. Charge collection typically suffers because transport of electrons through the mesoporous TiO2 substrate is slow. Thus, one obvious way to improve charge collection is to reduce the thickness of the TiO2. Alternatively, a form of TiO2 with fewer grain boundaries, such as nanotubes, could be used in place of sintered nanospheres. Unfortunately, both of these solutions end up reducing the amount of surface area available to adsorb dye molecules. This directly reduces the percentage of photons absorbed. This problem could be avoided if dye molecules with larger absorption were designed; although synthetic chemists seem to be pushing the limits of what is achievable. Plasmonic nanoparticles offer an alternative way to boost light absorption. It is well known that plasmonic nanoparticles can enhance the local electric field of resonant frequencies of light. If this were in the same spectral region as the dye’s absorption band it would increasemore » the percentage of absorbed photons. One concern is that if the nanoparticles are too close to the dye molecules they can quench the excited state. To avoid this problem, we prepared gold nanoparticles with a silica shell. This limited the amount of quenching while still permitting some enhancement of absorption. Unfortunately, we ran into some serious issues. The iodide based electrolyte etched the gold nanoparticles, completely dissolving them within a few hours. The silica shell should have provided protection but there were pinholes through which iodide could diffuse. Increasing the thickness of the silica to over 10 nm prevented etching but also limited any photon absorption enhancement.« less
  1. Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA (United States). School of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States