Colloidal nanomaterial systems for sustainable energy solutions
The Enright lab seeks to develop a spectroscopic understanding of colloidal nanomaterial systems for sustainable energy solutions. Our group uses nanomaterials to convert and manipulate sunlight. One strategy is to use sunlight to drive chemical reactions through photocatalysis. We are interested in understanding the roles of nanoparticle structure and surface on solar conversion efficiency. Through this approach, we can generate renewable fuel sources, such as hydrogen gas, or facilitate chemical reactions under mild conditions to make high-value chemicals and pharmaceuticals. The second approach is to concentrate sunlight using luminescent solar concentrators, also known as power windows. We are interested in developing luminescent solar concentrators that are composed of a gray-scale window that captures sunlight and reemits light to a concentrated area around the edge of the panel. By placing small photovoltaic cells around the edge of the window, the energy from light can be converted into electricity. This enables the assembly of a semi-transparent, tinted window that also offers onsite power generation for the building.