About the Center for Advanced Solar Photophysics

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science has established the Center for Advanced Solar Photophysics as an Energy Frontier Research Center.

The overarching goal of the Center is to explore novel concepts for converting solar light into electricity or chemical fuels through rational design of nanoscale structures guided by theory and modeling. Center researchers explore and exploit the unique physics of nanostructured materials to boost the efficiency of solar energy conversion through novel light-matter interactions, controlled excited-state dynamics, and engineered carrier-carrier coupling.

The Center conducts its research through interrelated efforts in advanced spectroscopy and theory of nanoscale materials, "physics-driven" synthesis, and exploratory devices.

Schematic graphic showing a central oval with goal of the Center for Advanced Solar Photophysics: Generation III approaches to conversion of light into electricity or chemical fuels with efficiencies at or above equilibrium thermodynamic limits. The oval is surrounded by three boxes indicating the main efforts of the Center, which are Advanced Spectroscopy, Theory, and Simulation; Physics-Driven Synthesis; and Exploratory Device Structures. The boxes are connected by double-headed arrows.

The interrelated efforts of the Center for Advanced Solar Photophysics are united into a single goal.

Long-Term Vision

The vision of the Center is to focus on novel physics, materials, and architectures for harvesting solar light and converting it into electrical charges with efficiencies at or above equilibrium thermodynamic limits.

Solving the global energy challenge requires revolutionary breakthroughs in areas such as the conversion of solar energy into electrical power or chemical fuels. The principles for capturing solar light and converting it into electrical charges have not changed for more than four decades. Advances have mostly relied on incremental improvements in material quality and device engineering.

But our society's growing demand for clean energy can only be met through technologies that are "disruptive"—that use radically new physical principles and materials to approach thermodynamic efficiency limits in solar-energy conversion. The Center is using a strong, interdisciplinary, multi-group effort to tackle this huge, fundamental challenge of modern science.

Five-Year Goals

Three primary goals of the Center are to:

Physics-driven synthesis is critical to each of these three goals. Center researchers identify and develop promising nanoparticles and assemblies based on the most up-to-date understanding of the physics. They target novel nanoparticle compositions, shapes, surface properties, and hybrids for their usefulness. They also investigate novel means to functionalize and assemble materials for efficient use.

Learn more about how the Center is organized to accomplish its mission, and read background information about the partner institutions and their principal investigators.

You can also contact the Center for Advanced Solar Photophysics if you have questions.