PhD student Tessel Bouwens of the Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS) has won the Poster Prize at the Royal Society of Chemistry's (RSC) Faraday Discussion on Artificial Photosynthesis, held 25 - 27 March in Cambridge, UK. Bouwens' PhD research results from her participation in the interuniversity Excellence Master programme 'Sustainability: the Molecular Approach’ of the Holland Research School of Molecular Chemistry.
The RCS Faraday Division has been organizing high-impact Faraday Discussions in the area of physical chemistry and its interfaces with other scientific disciplines for over 100 years. From 25-27 the 2019 Faraday Discussion on Artificial Photosynthesis was held in Cambridge, UK. The Faraday Discussions are named after the famous British scientist Michael Faraday.
On her prize-winning poster, Bouwens, who is a member of the HIMS research group for Homogeneous, Supramolecular and Bio-inspired Catalysis, presented a 'Ring Launching Solar Cell'. With this concept she proposes to solve the problem of charge recombination in p-type dye-sensitized solar cells by using pseudorotaxanes. These consist of molecular rings that loosely bind to a molecular thread and can thus function as molecular shuttles for charge transport in the solar cell. On her poster Tessel Bouwens presented results showing the viability of the concept: cells incorporating the proposed pseudorotaxanes afforded photocurrents of one order of magnitude higher in comparison to cells lacking pseudorotaxane formation.
Bouwens' PhD research results from her participation in the interuniversity Excellence Master programme 'Sustainability: the Molecular Approach’ of the Holland Research School of Molecular Chemistry. This programme prepares talented chemistry students for a scientific career and challenges them to come up with a PhD proposal. In 2016, Tessel's proposal on the use of rotaxanes to prevent charge recombination in solar cells was rewarded with an actual PhD position, financed through the Graduate Programme of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research NWO.
Tessel Bouwens, Simon Mathew and Joost N.H. Reek: P-type dye-sensitized solar cells based on pseudorotaxane mediated charge-transfer. Faraday Discuss., 2019, Accepted Manuscript. DOI: 10.1039/C8FD00169C