Spin-selective Charge Recombination Dynamics in Organic Materials
Artificial photosynthesis examines how sunlight is converted into different forms of usable energy, such as electricity and hydrogen (H2), in molecules that mimic the proteins in photosynthetic plants and bacteria. This is particularly relevant in renewable energies, where solar energy has the greatest potential as the most benign, universal resource for generating electricity. Just in the U.S. alone, approximately 2,200 TW is available on land and easily surpasses the 30 TW or more energy needed to meet the world’s energy needs by the year 2050, but harnessing that energy efficiently and converting it towards useful forms of power that are compatible with our current infrastructure remains a current challenge for researchers. My research efforts focus on understanding how to efficiently convert sunlight to electrical energy in new organic materials in two contexts: i) in model systems of covalently linked Donor-Bridge-Acceptor (DBA) systems that mimic the electron transport chain in photosynthetic reaction centers and ii) in photoactive liquid crystalline materials for organic photovoltaics (OPVs). We utilize ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopy to directly measure kinetic rates of photoinduced charge separation and recombination, and we study how electron spin dynamics control recombination pathways in organic materials.
Dr. Amy M. Scott earned her ACS certified B.S. degree in chemistry at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs and her Ph.D. in experimental physical chemistry at Northwestern University in 2009. She spent one year as a postdoctoral researcher at Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, IL, and two years as a Dreyfus Environmental Postdoctoral Researcher at Columbia University in New York, NY working with Professors Colin Nuckolls and Nicholas Turro.