Quantum-Dot-Based Photovoltaics

Research in the Van Ryswyk laboratory centers upon the materials chemistry of low-cost photovoltaics for the conversion of sunlight to electricity.  There are two major thrusts:

  1. tailoring the surface chemistry of PbS quantum dots for use in solid-state solar cells; and
  2. optimizing the attachment of organic and quantum dot sensitizers to ZnO nanoparticles, nanotubes, and nanorods in dye-sensitized solar cells.

Researchers in this lab create and characterize nanoscale materials, using them to build solar cells. The cells are tested and modeled, and the results used to create more effective solar cells.

To apply for this position:

  1. Meet with Prof Van Ryswyk to talk about the project and your experiences.
  2. Do not apply via this website. Instead, apply via the Chemistry Luke Scholars Application. You may find it helpful to look at the form now before you start your application process.

All parts of the application should be submitted by 5pm, December 10th for complete consideration.

Name of research group, project, or lab
The Van Ryswyk lab / Claremont Photovoltaics Consortium
Why join this research group or lab?

Burning hydrocarbon-based fuels released 34.81 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in 2020. The current world-wide energy needs of 21 TW-years are projected to rise to 32 TW-years by 2050. Solar energy, at conservative estimates, can provide 50 TW-years of carbon free energy.

Today most solar cells are made from silicon, which is expensive and energy-intensive to produce -- the energy payback time for silicon solar cells is 2-3 years. This project is directed towards third-generation thin-film solar cells which very small amounts of common, easy-to-obtain materials to produce devices that could be produced in large areas at costs lower than those of silicon.

Representative publication
Logistics Information:
Project categories
Materials Science
Student ranks applicable
Time commitment
Spring - Part Time
Paid Research
Number of openings
Techniques learned

Common synthetic techniques include electrodeposition of nanosheets and Schlenk-line synthesis of quantum dots. The resulting nanostructures are characterized with UV-visible-NIR spectrophotometry, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (EDX), and powder x-ray difraction (XRD). Solar cells are characterized by a range of techniques including the measurement of current-voltage and incident photon conversion efficiencies, impedance spectroscopy, photovoltage decay, and intensity-modulated photocurrent and photovoltage spectroscopies.

Contact Information:
Mentor name
Hal Van Ryswyk
Mentor email
Mentor position
principal investigator
Name of project director or principal investigator
Prof. Van Ryswyk
Email address of project director or principal investigator
3 sp. | 0 appl.
Hours per week
Spring - Part Time
Project categories
Materials Science (+1)
ChemistryMaterials Science