Wednesday, July 30, 2014

UNO Materials Scientist Gets Grant to Help Develop New Solar Device at National Lab

Weilie Zhou, Ph.D.Weilie Zhou, Ph.D.

A University of New Orleans materials scientist has received a $10,000 grant from the Louisiana Board of Regents to help develop a new solar device at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo.

Weilie Zhou, associate professor with UNO's Advanced Materials Research Institute, and Sarah Wozny, a UNO doctoral student in chemistry, are spending a month this summer at the laboratory collaborating with Kai Zhu, a senior scientist with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The researchers will work on fabricating and characterizing a new hybrid solar cell that uses environmentally-friendly inorganic semiconductor nanomaterials. Nanomaterials are chemical substances or materials that are manufactured and used at a very small scale. Nanoscale materials often have unique optical, electronic or mechanical properties.

The researchers will use the state-of-the-art equipment at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to understand how the charge transport mechanism works to maximize efficiency. The goal of the project is to make stable, low-cost high-efficiency solar devices.

The grant comes from the Louisiana Board of Regents Links with Industry and National Labs (LINK) program, which facilitates science and engineering research, education and training opportunities for faculty, postdoctoral researchers, undergraduate and graduate students. The objective of the program is to help develop a diverse, internationally competitive and engaged workforce of scientists and engineers by establishing partnerships between Louisiana researchers and collaborators at national laboratories, research centers or industrial facilities.


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