New chalcogenide and chalcohalide semiconductors for environmental sensing and renewable energy

MIT PI: Rafael Jaramillo, Department of Materials Science and Engineering
SkT PI: Pavel Troshin, Center for Energy Science and Technology

We propose to design new families of chalcogenide and chalcohalide semiconductors and exploit them for applications in solar energy conversion and environmental chemical sensing. The materials targeted are highly promising for optoelectronic applications, based on recent results (including our own), but have been little-explored to-date, due largely to a lack of proven thin film deposition methods. We will address this challenge with a three-pronged approach.  Firstly, we will develop innovative metrology to determine the potential of new materials for device performance based on measurements of available, small single crystal samples. Secondly, we will leverage the wide range of film synthesis capabilities brought together through collaboration to make first-of-a-kind thin films of promising materials identified through our materials screening metrology. Thirdly, we will evaluate the performance of our thin film materials in solar cells and chemical sensors, according to their properties and using device fabrication and test capabilities already in-place. Our results will accelerate the process of taking intriguing new materials from fundamentals studies to technological impact, with implications for low-carbon renewable solar energy and environmental monitoring. The proposed project will also kickstart a new collaboration between Skoltech and MIT, between groups with overlapping interests and highly complementary capabilities, and will provide opportunities for cross-cultural, international engagement in the context of an ambitious research agenda for graduate students in postdoctoral researchers in training.

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