Processing Carbon Nanotubes and Graphene for Future Solar Energy Applications

Dr. Sandip Niyogi
Postdoctoral Associate
University of California, Riverside

(Research Assistant Professor Candidate for the SEI Transformative Solar/Cleaner Fossil Facility)

The physical properties of carbon nanotubes and graphene offer new directions to engineer solar energy conversion efficiencies.  Carbon nanotubes are synthesized as a heterogeneous mixture of structures with varying physical properties, along with metallic and amorphous carbon impurities.  The focus of his research in carbon nanotubes has been to apply wet chemistry methods (covalent and non-covalent reactions) to prepare the material in bulk scale with pure electronic characteristics.[1]  In this presentation he will discuss the experimental observations that led to the development of a method to isolate individual single-walled carbon nanotube chiralities[2, 3] and the implications of the results for future advancements in bulk heterojunction solar cells. Covalent functionalization of the surface of graphene is a novel way to modulate the band gap, affect electron scattering and interference and function as a light harvesting substrate. Analogous side-wall chemistry was shown to introduce a band gap in metallic single-walled carbon nanotubes.  Morphological heterogeneities in large area graphene samples affect chemical reactivity as well as the characterization of electronic and magnetic properties. The use of Raman microscopy and scanning tunneling microscopy to systematically study the effect of surface functionalization densities and concomitant changes in the electronic transport properties of graphene will be discussed.[4, 5]

Dr. Sandip Niyogi is a postdoctoral associate in the Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University of California, Riverside. He received his B.S. (1995) in Chemistry at IIT, Kharagpur, India, and Ph.D. (2006) in Chemistry at University of California, Riverside. His primary research interests include: carbon nanotube and graphene based energy harvesting technologies; application of carbon nanotubes in environmental remediation; research and development of carbon based electronic materials; and application of carbon nanotubes and graphene in the experimental exploration of biological complexity.