Solarfoil: Nanocrystal spectral converters for green economy

Supervisors: Ina Flaucher and Peter Schall 

Despite many years of photosynthesis research, the photosynthetic efficiency remains low. One reason is that plants use only limited spectral regions for photosynthesis; the solar spectrum, however is much broader, containing much more energy. We develop highly efficient nanocrystal layers to “shape” the solar spectrum into an optimum spectrum for the species at hand, thereby exploring the functionality of light on biomass yield, nutritional value and plant shape. Inorganic perovskite nanocrystals are ideal candidates for the spectral conversion due to their tunable bandgap and high quantum yield. We combine those with photonic design to enhance light outcoupling out of the layers. In this project, you can investigate the most suitable nanocrystals and mixtures, measure and model their light-shaping performance, develop photonic design and test your developed foils directly on the growth of algae and plants, in collaboration with IBED.

Fluorescent nanocrystal layer that converts the harmful UV light into yellow-red light that plants can use for photosynthesis.