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Low-temperature CHEMical approaches to novel materials based on earth ABundant ELements. Towards advanced electronic and optoelectronic applications (CHEMABEL)
Start date: Mar 1, 2014, End date: Feb 28, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The renewable energy technologies already available are not yet capable of competing with fossil fuels mainly due to a poorratio cost/efficiency. A clear example is photovoltaic energy, for which high costs and moderate performances yield too longpayback times, despite the huge amount of solar energy constantly reaching the Earth. The key to cheap and more efficientrenewable energy sources lies in the materials at the heart of the different technologies. The synthesis of novel materialswith superior tailored properties for each particular energy application, and the development of cheap and scalablefabrication protocols is therefore crucial if renewable energy technologies are to take a main share of modern society energymix. Thus I plan to focus on the synthesis and study of novel materials based on earth abundant elements, with tailoredproperties for application in photovoltaic cells and other electronic devices, such as transparent electronics. On a complementary research line, the design of simpler and more efficient cell (nano)architectures is another key factor in maximizing the efficiency/cost ration of solar cells. In this sense I intend to develop novel nanoarchitectures in which the two main processes in solar cells, namely light abslorption and charge extraction, are decoupled and thus can be separately tackled and optimized. I want to address these goals by using and developing facile, low-cost and scalable approaches. Thehydrothermal method has proven to be a very effective synthetic approach yielding both known and new phases. Moreover,it is a low cost method and easily scalable. I have also shown the efficiency of hydrothermal reactions for the fabrication ofhybrid nanostructures. Additionally, other low-cost, solution-based methods will be explored (electrochemistry, chemicaloxidation, etc). Finally, an exciting new approach to Atomic Layer Deposition that operates at atmospheric pressure will bedeveloped and implemented."
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