Katheryn Cruz

Status:

Headshot: 
Photo of Katheryn Cruz with a green background
Major: 
Chemistry
Mentor: 
Dr. Mohammad A. Omary
Research Topic: 
Synthesis and Physical-Chemical Properties of Copper Complexes for Solar Cell Applications
Abstract: 
The depletion of fossil fuels and recent innovation in green energy has sparked interest in research for alternative energy solutions. One focus of this research is on organic photovoltaics (OPVs). Although the progress of OPVs falls behind dye-synthesized solar cells (DSSCs), OPVs are receiving a considerable amount of attention because they have the potential to overcome some of the disadvantages of DSSCs. An important component for the efficiency of solar cells is how much light the device can absorb. Using a two step process, a material called a black absorber, (Azopy3{[3,5-(CF3)Pz]Cu}2) was synthesized from {[3,5-(CF3)2Pz]Cu3} which is known as a copper trimer. Interestingly enough, the copper trimer can be used in organic light-emitting diode (OLED) devices, which are used in the screens of many electronic devices. The black absorber shows absorbance from about 200 to 1000 nm, meaning that this material is absorbing in the ultraviolet region, visible region, and the near-IR region. Both materials were tested using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The high absorbance of the black absorber shows that it is an excellent material to be used in OPVs. Additionally, the black absorber offers a cheaper option compared to previously reported materials that contain platinum.