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Thermochromic solar windows - Experimental

Project Full Title:

Controlling material crystal structure to make switchable thermochromic solar cell windows - HOPE STUDENTS ONLY

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Project Description:

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of Engineering, Chemistry, and Physics. However, the project is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Engineering. Solar cells make better doors than windows; solar cells need to absorb light to produce power and are therefore opaque or nearly opaque. Despite this, the amount of glass in buildings, especially large skyscrapers, makes building-integrated solar cells, attractive. If a solar cell material could be responsive to illumination similar to thermochromic lenses in glasses, darkening in direct sunlight and becoming transparent otherwise, it might be possible to make a dynamic solar cell window that is a good solar cell and a good window. In this project, we will explore crystal phase transitions in a class of materials known as halide perovskites. These materials work well in solar cells and some halide perovskites can also change color from clear to dark with changes in their crystal structure. The work will include materials synthesis and characterization of material properties such as optical absorption and crystal structure. Students will help to explore the mechanisms behind color switching in these materials. Additionally, students will assist in the development and implementation of protocols for material synthesis and testing.

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