Elucidating Energy and Electron Transfer Dynamics within Molecular Assemblies for Solar Energy Conversion Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
Creator
  • Morseth, Zachary
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Chemistry
Abstract
  • The use of sunlight to make chemical fuels (i.e. solar fuels) is an attractive approach in the quest to develop sustainable energy sources. Using nature as a guide, assemblies for artificial photosynthesis will need to perform multiple functions. They will need to be able to harvest light across a broad region of the solar spectrum, transport excited-state energy to charge-separation sites, and then transport and store redox equivalents for use in the catalytic reactions that produce chemical fuels. This multifunctional behavior will require the assimilation of multiple components into a single macromolecular system. A wide variety of different architectures including porphyrin arrays, peptides, dendrimers, and polymers have been explored, with each design posing unique challenges. Polymer assemblies are attractive due to their relative ease of production and facile synthetic modification. However, their disordered nature gives rise to stochastic dynamics not present in more ordered assemblies. The rational design of assemblies requires a detailed understanding of the energy and electron transfer events that follow light absorption, which can occur on timescales ranging from femtoseconds to hundreds of microseconds, necessitating the use of sophisticated techniques. We have used a combination of time-resolved absorption and emission spectroscopies with observation times that span nine orders of magnitude to follow the excited-state evolution within single-site and polymer-based molecular assemblies. We complement experimental observations with electronic structure calculations, molecular dynamics simulations, and kinetic modeling to develop a microscopic view of these dynamics. This thesis provides an overview of work on single-site molecular assemblies and polymers decorated with pendant chromophores, both in solution and on surfaces. This work was made possible through extensive collaboration with Dr. Kirk Schanze’s and Dr. John Reynolds’ research groups who synthesized the samples for study.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Cahoon, James
  • Papanikolas, John
  • Kanai, Yosuke
  • Moran, Andrew
  • Meyer, Gerald
Degree
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016
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