University of Otago, New Zealand


Te Tari Hua-Ruanuku

Jonathan Barnsley

contact photo
Jonathan Barnsley
Supervisor: Professor Keith Gordon
Tel: (03) 479 7930
Location: Science II, 5c1

Analysis and Refinement of New Generation Solar Cells

One of humanities greatest challenges is the development of sustainable green energy. Nature successfully harvests energy from the sun in the form of photosynthesis, providing energy for the wider biosphere. Synthetic equivalents such as organic photovoltaics (OPVs) and dye sensitised solar cells (DSSCs) offer the prospect of economically viable solar energy generation.

Figure 1 A benzo[c][1,2,5]thiadiazole donor-acceptor based dye indicating electron density transfer.1

In these devices, donor-acceptor dyes have been recognised as promising synthetic light harvesters due to highly tuneable band gaps and optical properties. The relationship between donor and acceptor group has a significant effect on the charge transfer observed in these systems and can promote or hinder optical performance. Hence, factors such as donor and acceptor strength, donor-acceptor torsional angle and the interplay of linker moieties become exceedingly important to understand.

Figure 2 A porphyrin based dye indicating hole density transfer from TPA to the porphyrin core. This work was featured as a back cover for Chemical Science.2

This research is developing a molecular electronic understanding of optically promising dyes through rigorous characterisation.1,2 Our research group specialises in optical, vibrational, electrochemical and computational techniques. The culmination of these techniques provides an enhanced bed of knowledge of how these dyes absorb light and what mechanisms can be exploited to enhance said properties.

Relevant references:

  1. J. E. Barnsley, G. E. Shillito, C. B. Larsen, H. van der Salm, L. E. Wang, N. T. Lucas, K. C. Gordon, Journal of Physical Chemistry A 2016, 120, 11, 1853–1866.
  2. L. Zhao, P. Wagner, J. E. Barnsley, T. M. Clarke, K. C. Gordon, S. Mori and A. J. Mozer, Chemical Science 2016, 7, 3506-3516.
  3. Fraser, M. G.; van der Salm, H.; Cameron, S. A.; Barnsley, J. E.; Gordon, K. C., Structural, electronic and computational studies of heteroleptic Cu(I) complexes of 6,6 '-dimesityl-2,2 '-bipyridine with sulfur-substituted dipyridophenazine ligands. Polyhedron 2013, 52, 623-633.
  4. van der Salm, H.; Fraser, M. G.; Horvath, R.; Cameron, S. A.; Barnsley, J. E.; Sun, X. Z.; George, M. W.; Gordon, K. C., Re(I) Complexes of Substituted dppz: A Computational and Spectroscopic Study. Inorganic Chemistry 2014, 53, 3126-3140.