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Light driven hybrid nanocrystal TMDC capacitors

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Light-DYNAMO (Light driven hybrid nanocrystal TMDC capacitors)

Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2021-06-30

Energy storage is a booming topic in the 21st century, playing a leading role in many of the most pressing problems (and potential solutions) currently facing modern society: energy shortage, environmental pollution and global warming. To address these critical areas, it is now imperative to fully harness solar energy as a primary resource. However, the intermittency of the sun ultimately limits its widespread use. Therefore, innovative solutions to directly store the energy from the sun in solid state devices are highly desirable.
The overarching aim of Light-DYNAMO is to implement photo-chargeable nanocrystal capacitors in a solid state hybrid geometry with two dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides as innovative light energy storage systems for the permanent storage of charges and their on demand release to power an electric circuit.
Light-DYNAMO’s overall objective is to develop a novel innovative light induced carrier storage device that competes with current state of the art devices. The fundamentally new storage design whose basic physical and chemical properties are yet to be demonstrated and is based on a fundamentally new mechanism of the direct light energy storage, of major importance for the current energy hungry society.
The successful accomplishment of Light-DYNAMO will open new visionary routes towards the direct storage of sunlight in an all solid state device architecture of interest to the entire research community and bringing new solutions to the society.
During the first reporting period of Light-DYNAMO the work has focussed on, first, the hiring of PhD students and postdocs, the setting up of the laboratory, and on the research. Researchwise, we have worked on improving the materials involved. We have been actively working on developing a complete picture of the charging process of nanocrystals made of metal oxides, based on proper theoretical models (Task 1.1) and improved the charge storage capacity of such nanocrystals. We have further started establishing improved fabrication protocols for 2D materials and obtained initial results on their coupling into hybrid structures. We have started to set up all necessary steps to develop the devices, as well, related mostly to Task 3.1. Our results so far have been published in 8 peer-reviewed articles.
The progress beyond the state of the art envisaged until the end of the project covers several aspects. Key contributions in the synthesis of new nanocrystals with novel functionality are expected, delivering new synthesis protocols of novel nanocrystals with enhanced light absorption and charge storage capability. A complete picture of the various parameters that influence and enhance the charging process of such materials, supported by proper theoretical models will be presented.
In the TMDCs we aim to deliver a matrix that covers the most important factors influencing the optoelectronic response of the TMDC, such as strain, defect density and doping, thereby contributing to a fundamental understanding of the role of preparation, substrate and chemical environment. Such matrix responds to chemical and physical aspects, which are among the most important open issues in the fields. The controlled correlation of the TMDCs’ optoelectronic response to the various parameters will deliver a complete picture of the factors influencing their optical signatures. The extraction of such a matrix is of major importance for new device design, such as energy funnels or quantum optical applications, but also for their implementation in any other optoelectronic device.
In the combined hybrid geometry, we will provide a complete design kit that allows us to add the controlled driving force to the TMDC for the optical redistribution of carriers. This will open new routes towards TMDC design in which local carrier density control delivers a tool to locally and temporally direct the optical signatures. This together is of major interest for device applications based on TMDCs, but additionally for novel device designs such as quantum optics. We will be among the first to study in depth such carrier transfer and controlled redistribution of charges as a tool for the contactless optical manipulation of the TMDCs' local optoelectronic response.
Finally, the engineering of innovative, light driven hybrid devices will contribute to new design concepts for the light storage and capacitor community, exploiting a fundamentally new process not studied to date. This new approach will open novel directions for the exploitation and storage of the incoming sunlight.
Artists view of the hybrid solar energy storage device and its functionalities