Dr. Stephanie Lee, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, was recently awarded a NSF grant in the amount of $297,175. This grant is part of a larger New York University-Stevens Institute of Technology collaborative project with chemistry professor Bart Kahr totaling $613,216 over a three- year period. Their project, entitled "Charge Transport in Helicoidal Crystals," explores a little- known phenomenon in which many crystals can twist as they grow. Adding a new dimension to materials design, the periodic twisting of crystals may unlock materials properties that up to now have been inaccessible.
Lee's project will examine charge transport and the conversion of sunlight into electricity in twisted organic crystals grown by the Kahr group. Already, her team has discovered huge improvements in the conductivity of twisted organic semiconductor crystals compared to straight crystals. Leveraging unique resources at Stevens, including a newly installed conductive atomic force microscope purchased through the PSEG Foundation gift to advance energy innovation at Stevens and a low-frequency Raman spectrometer purchased through a Bridging grant, Lee aims to uncover the fundamental science of optoelectronic processes in twisted crystals. Ultimately, this research will propel emerging technologies based on organic semiconductors, including flexible, lightweight and inexpensive electronics and solar panels, closer to commercialization.
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