Reilly Lecture: Layer-by-Layer Synthesis of Nanoscale Materials for Energy Conversion

Dr. Stacey Bent

With the intensifying global need for alternative energy, there is strong interest in developing new materials for sustainable energy devices. This talk will describe research on nanoscale materials for solar photovoltaics and solar fuel production.  The focus is on using layer-by-layer synthetic strategies, namely atomic layer deposition (ALD), to generate the nanoscale materials with a high level of control over composition, structure, and thickness. Two energy applications will be described. The first is photovoltaics, in which ALD is used to deposit different components of solar cells, including the absorber layer and recombination barrier layers in quantum dot solar cells.  The second application is electrocatalysis for water splitting to produce hydrogen for fuel. We show that nanometer thick electrocatalyst layers of earth abundant materials deposited by ALD are active for the oxygen evolution reaction, an important reaction in the conversion of sunlight to fuels.  We also use this layer-by-layer synthetic strategy to explore other metal oxides for electrocatalysis, to study charge transport limitations in the catalysts, and to achieve compositional control over ternary metal oxide and doped metal oxide thin films.

Stacey F. Bent is Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Jagdeep and Roshni Singh Professor in the School of Engineering at Stanford University, where she is appointed Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor, by courtesy, of Chemistry, of Materials Science and Engineering, and of Electrical Engineering. Professor Bent serves as the Director of the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy and is a senior fellow in the Precourt Institute of Energy. Professor Bent obtained her B.S. degree in chemical engineering from UC Berkeley and her Ph.D. degree in chemistry from Stanford. After carrying out postdoctoral work at AT&T Bell Laboratories, she joined the faculty of the Chemistry Department at New York University. She moved to Stanford University in 1998.

Professor Bent’s research is focused on understanding surface and interfacial chemistry and materials synthesis, and applying this knowledge to a range of problems in sustainable energy, semiconductor processing, and nanotechnology. Her group currently studies new materials and processes for electronics, solar cells and solar fuels, and catalysts. She has published over 200 papers and has presented nearly 250 invited talks.

Professor Bent is associate editor of Chemistry of Materials.  She has been recognized with a number of awards for both research and teaching.  She is the Bert and Candace Forbes University Fellow in Undergraduate Education and has won the Tau Beta Pi Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at Stanford and the Allan V. Cox Medal for Faculty Excellence Fostering Undergraduate Research.  She is a Fellow of the American Chemical Society and the American Vacuum Society (AVS), and has won the Peter Mark Memorial Award from AVS.  She received the Coblenz Award for Molecular Spectroscopy, a Beckman Young Investigator award, and a National Science Foundation CAREER Award. She has been recognized as a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar and a Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar.

Please view the poster for more information.

This seminar is hosted by the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Notre Dame.