Center for EXcitonics

When a chlorophyll molecule in the leaf of a plant absorbs a photon of sunlight, the solar energy is converted into an excited state of the molecule known as an exciton. The exciton then transports the energy between molecules in the leaf, and ultimately mediates the conversion of sunlight into electrical energy.

Thus, excitons are packets of energy confined within a material. They are the crucial intermediate for energy transduction in all kinds of low-cost electronic materials. Excitons also dominate the behavior of disordered synthetic nano-materials like polymers and inorganic quantum dots. Consequently, excitons control solar energy conversion in low-cost solar cells, and also light emission in organic and quantum-dot based LEDs.

The mission of the Center for Excitonics is to develop the science and technology of excitons, to reveal the fundamental characteristics of these crucial quasi-particles, and enable new solar cells and lighting technologies.

Our efforts are divided into four working groups, and two seed initiatives. Each of the four working groups are comprised of three to five faculty devoted to key scientific problems confronting the development of more efficient solar cells and solid state lighting. The seed initiatives are smaller-scale projects devoted to developing science and technology that we expect to grow in significance. More…