I achieved my Master Degree in Chemistry (specialization in “Physical Chemistry of complex systems”) at The University “Federico II” of Naples in 2009, with a thesis concerning the theoretical study of micro-solvation and spectroscopic properties of a solvatochromic dye.
I joined the Troisi group in late 2010, as a PhD student, and I am currently working on the modelling on the electron injection process in Dye Sensitized Solar Cells, using both periodic DFT calculations and models developed in our research group.
DYE SENSITIZED SOLAR CELLS
Dye sensitized solar cells (DSSC) are one of the most promising technologies in the field of solar energy: reaching the efficiency of solar light to electricity conversion up to 12%, they represent one of the viable commercial alternatives to the common silicon-based cells. This kind of device is typically composed of a wide band gap semiconductor (TiO2 or, less commonly, ZnO) deposited on a transparent conducting substrate, a molecular sensitizer (the dye) anchored on the semiconductor, and a redox electrolyte in solution and in contact with a counter electrode.In DSSC, solar radiation is absorbed by the dye which, in its excited state, transfers an electron to the conduction band of the semiconductor (Charge Injection - CI). The dye is neutralized by the redox mediator in solution (DR), which is regenerated by reduction at the counter electrode (ER). This process generates a photovoltage between the semiconductor and the counter electrode. While the maximum efficiency is theoretically predicted around 30%, the energy produced by this kind of cell is dramatically reduced by several loss mechanisms, in particular, thermal de-excitation and charge recombination at the interface to the dye (CRD) or to the electrolyte (CRE). It is known from experimental measurements that the electron injection occurs on a time scale of femtoseconds to hundreds of femtoseconds, and is usually the fastest process. Therefore, slower processes, such as the regeneration of the dye and of the redox couple and the electron transport through semiconductor nanoparticles, represent the efficiency determining steps of the device. Nevertheless, fast electron injection, while not being a sufficient condition for a high-efficiency device, is surely a necessary requirement: slow electron injection is likely to lead to poor performance of the solar cell. In this framework, the study of the rates and mechanisms of electron injection and the design of efficient dyes is crucial.
1) On January 26th 2012, my first paper as first author has been published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry C:
Ambrosio F, Martsinovich N, Troisi A - Effect of the Anchoring Group on Electron Injection: Theoretical Study of Phosphonated Dyes for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells.
2) On June 7th 2012, my second paper as first author has been published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.
Ambrosio F, Martsinovich N, Troisi A - What is the Best Anchoring Group for a Dye in a Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells?
CONFERENCES, WORKSHOPS AND MEETINGS
I actively partecipated, presenting my work, to the following academic events:
1) 10th International Conference on Materials Chemistry (MC10) - 4-7 July 2011 - University of Manchester, United Kingdom (POSTER)
2) ACS National Meeting and Exposition - 25-29 March 2012 - San Diego, California (POSTER)
3) Postgraduate Symposium 2012 - 30th May 2012 - University of Warwick, United Kingdom (POSTER)
4) 2nd Thomas Young Centre (TYC) Workshop & Tutorial on Energy Materials: Charge transfer for energy applications - 6-8 June 2012 - King's College, London, United Kingdom (POSTER)