Research Focus

Wearable and smart textiles have been rapidly developed and show promising applications in portable electronic devices. The research in my laboratory focuses on the design and characterization of conjugated polymers and nanomaterials for flexible and portable electronic devices. We pursue the fundamental optical, electrical, physical, electrochemical, and photovoltaic properties in advanced energy materials and seek out novel materials and device architectures for strategically important technological applications.

Our core research capabilities can be categorized as:

 

Solution-Processed Photovoltaic Cells: We directed at developing solution-processed photovoltaic cells, because of their potential for being lightweight, having flexibility, and being used in low-cost energy harvesting. Specifically, in my group we develop novel conjugated polymers, modified interfacial layers, optimized film morphologies, and engineered device architectures to uplift the power conversion efficiencies.

 

Organic/Inorganic Hybrid Solar Cells: Hybrid solar cells (HSCs) based on inorganic NCs and conjugated polymers have the advantages of being morphologically more stable and being able to utilize the high electron mobility of the inorganic phase to overcome charge-transport limitations associated with the organic materials. However, there is still no report of a higher performance observed in HSCs other than organic solar cells because of the complicated surface/interface of NCs. We exploit new strategies for improving the compatibility between NCs and conjugated polymers such as altering NCs’ size and shape, thermal annealing, solvent-vapor annealing, and functionalizing the study polymers.

Flexible Supercapacitors: Supercapacitors can provide high power density, faster charge/discharge rates and long cycling life. One-dimensional nanostructures for flexible supercapacitors have been of particular interest due to their integration of lightweight, high flexibility and tiny volume, which are favorable for portable applications. We concentrate on the design and characterization of new architectures that can combine the high energy storage capability of planar devices and weavability of fibrous devices to improve the energy density.

 

Smart Textiles: Colorful and flexible fiber-based structures are highly desirable for wearable electronics owing to the advantages of light-weight, long-lasting, flexible, and conformable. We focus on the novel materials, fabrication techniques, and structural design of devices as well as applications of the fiber-based wearable electronic products.

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