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Radiation and Perovskites

Project Full Title:

Radiation degradation of perovskite semiconductors for solar cells and x-ray detectors

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Project Mentor(s) EMail:

Project Start Date:


Project End Date:


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. Interested students must reach out to Dr. Christians in person or via email prior to applying.

Halide perovskites are semiconductors with many interesting properties. Semiconductors, such as the silicon in solar cells and computer chips, the gallium nitride in LEDs, selenium in digital x-ray detectors, and the zinc oxide in sunscreen, are all around us. Halide perovskites are a class of semiconductors which have the general chemical formula ABX3 and widely tunable properties. A major advantage over many semiconductors is that halide perovskites can be solution-processed, meaning that they can be printed or coated from "inks".

This project will focus on exploring the interactions between halide perovskites and high energy radiation. Halide perovskites have the potential to be used in space as solar cells to power satellites, and even could form more sensitive digital x-ray detectors so that routine medical screenings, like dental x-rays or mammography, can be done with lower radiation risks to the patient.

For these applications, understanding interactions with high energy radiation is critical. The Particle Accelerator, housed in the Hope College Physics Department, will be used to irradiate halide perovskite materials. Various characterization techniques will be used to explore material properties before and after radiation. Collaboration with external researchers at the University of Notre Dame and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory will support the investigations at Hope College.

Students who are new to the project will begin work (approximately 2-3 hrs per week) during the Spring semester. This will include learning some of the basics of their project as well as getting initial training on some of the laboratory techniques that they will use in their research. Full time summer research will last a total of 10 weeks and is expected to begin on 5/09/22 and run until 7/15/22. There is flexibility with student vacation plans or other commitments during this time. Students working on this project will gain experience with the particle accelerator, materials synthesis, and an array of materials characterization techniques. This work will require students to participate in all aspects of the research process including, the development of synthesis and characterization protocols, review of scientific literature, data acquisition, data modeling and analysis, construction of experimental equipment, and research presentations.

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