The Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will be home to one of 46 new multi-million-dollar Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) announced today by the White House in conjunction with a speech delivered by President Barack Obama at the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences. The EFRCs, which will pursue advanced scientific research on energy, are being established by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science at universities, national laboratories, nonprofit organizations, and private firms across the nation.
The new Center for Excitonics will be a comprehensive center on the science and applications of excitons. It will be based in RLE but include researchers throughout MIT, as well as Harvard University and Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Excitons are the crucial intermediate for energy transduction in low cost, disordered semiconductors. The Center’s researchers will tackle the following questions: How are excitons created and destroyed? How can we control the migration of excitons? How do they move through interfaces and around defects? How can we control the transition between coherence and incoherence, or localization and delocalization? And finally, how can we build excitonic devices that address society’s needs for a new generation of energy technologies? Potential technological outcomes from the Center’s activities include the development of efficient synthetic and room-temperature-reconfigurable light absorbing antennas with sub-5-nm feature sizes for solar cells; stable organic light emitting devices exploiting spin orbit coupling to achieve internal fluorescent efficiencies approaching 100%, and novel nanowire, nanowire heterostructure and nanowire-quantum dot aggregate materials for solid state lighting; and thin film, non-tracking solar concentrators with power efficiencies exceeding 30%.
These are very excitonic exciting news for us. We worked very hard in the proposal, and pushing a shadow Excitonic Center, waiting to see if the real center will be approved. The Excitonics Seminar series has been fantastic so far, with the best speakers in the field. We have very high expectations that the breakthroughs that will come out of our center will lead to more efficient solar energy technologies.
I guess somebody up there likes me.
-The Sirens of Titan