443406 Design of Hierarchical 3D Architectures for Energy, Electronic Applications

Sunday, November 8, 2015
Exhibit Hall 1 (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Po-Yen Chen, Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

We live in age of great challenges such as the energy crisis. The society has been trying to develop new strategies 1) to efficiently convert renewable energy to usable electricity, 2) to store energy into high performance rechargeable batteries, and 3) to fabricate advanced electronic devices in environmentally benign manners. To develop high-performance energy, electronic technology, the design of three-dimensional (3D) nanostructures and nanocomposites have become central issues.

My doctoral research at MIT (with Prof. Angela M. Belcher and Prof. Paula T. Hammond) focuses on the design of 3D nanostructured composites by using biological materials (e.g., M13 viruses) as templates. M13 viruses can be genetically engineered to display the specific functionalities for the organization of targeted materials. The capability of M13 virus to manipulate nanomaterials provides an attractive route to creating nanostructured hybrid composites for the electrodes of solar cells and batteries. First, via self-assembling M13 virus into 3D viral hydrogels, the virus-based hydrogel serves as a multifunctional platform capable of synthesizing core-shell Au-TiO2 nanocomposites to produce plasmon-enhanced sensitized solar cells with substantial improvement on power conversion efficiency. Second, M13 viruses are genetically programmed to cluster SWNTs along the phage without aggregation. The SWNTs-virus complexes are crosslinked into hydrogels and coated with conducting polyaniline. The virus-templated SWNTs-polyaniline composites can largely improve the electrical conductivity and stored capacity of battery electrodes. The effective incorporation of SWNT results the electrochemical electrode with the lowest effective cost (material cost/capacity). During my doctoral research, I also invented a practical solution to reusing an old car battery to manufacture high-efficiency perovskite solar cells to power ~30 households.

As an independent postdoctoral research fellow at Brown University, I have established my own small lab, mentored masters and undergraduates, and built substantive collaboration with faculty members. My postdoctoral research involves the creation of high-ordered and multiscale buckled surface topologies by extreme compression of 2D nanomaterials (e.g., graphene), and the hierarchical surfaces can achieve superhydrophobic surfaces (θw > 160°) and exhibit efficient electrochemical performance.

Selected Publications:

  1. P.-Y. Chen, et al., Multiscale buckled surface topographies created by extreme compression of graphene surface films. (Under review)
  2. P.-Y. Chen, et al., Carbon nanotube-polyaniline core-shell nanostructured hydrogel for electrochemical energy storage. RSC Adv. 2015, 5, 37970.
  3. P.-Y. Chen, et al., M13 virus-enabled synthesis of titanium dioxide nanowires for tunable mesoporous semiconducting networks. Chem. Mater. 2015, 27, 1531.
  4. P.-Y. Chen, et al., Environmentally responsible fabrication of efficient perovskite solar cells from recycled car batteries. Energ. & Environ. Sci. 2014, 7, 3659. (Highlighted in Washington Post)
  5. P.-Y. Chen, et al., Assembly of viral hydrogels for three-dimensional conducting nanocomposites. Adv. Mater. 2014, 26, 5101. (Front cover)
  6. N.-M. D. Courchesne, M. T. Klug, P.-Y. Chen, et al., Assembly of a bacteriophage-based template for the organization of materials into nanoporous networks. Adv. Mater. 2014, 26, 3398. (Back cover)
  7. P.-Y. Chen, et al., Versatile three-dimensional virus-based template for dye-sensitized solar cells with improved electron transport and light harvesting. ACS Nano 2013, 7, 6563.
  8. P.-Y. Chen, et al., Layer-by-layer assembled porous photoanodes for efficient electron collection in dye-sensitized solar cells. J. Mater. Chem. A 2013, 1, 2217.
  9. P.-Y. Chen, et al., A quasi solid-state dye-sensitized solar cell containing binary ionic liquid and polyaniline-loaded carbon black. J. Power Sources 2010, 195, 3933.
  10. C.-P. Lee, P.-Y. Chen, et al, Iodine-free high efficient quasi solid-state dye-sensitized solar cell containing ionic liquid and polyaniline-loaded carbon black. J. Mater. Chem. 2010, 20, 2356.

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