Clean Energy Student Research Projects

All FRI students present their research posters at campus events. Each cohort presents two posters, the first is a pre-proposal developed in the fall first-year Research Methods Seminar. The second poster represents results from the research proposed in the spring first-year course and then conducted in the fall second-year course. These posters are presented at a public session at the annual FRI Research Day in December. At that event, each student team has an opportunity to talk with other faculty and students about their research results.

Clean Energy Research Themes

  • Enhancing structural and photostability of CsPbX3 perovskite nanocrystals via inorganic shell growth 
  • Exploring alternatives to molybdenum in a Mo6S8 battery cathode using density function theory 
  • Reducing toxicity of inorganic perovskite quantum dots through partial and full substitution of lead 
  • Density functional theory comparison of titanium chalcogenides as intercalation-type cathodes for rechargeable metal-ion batteries 
  • Improving synthetic methods of CsPbBr3 perovskite nanocrystals through ligand modification and substitution

A photograph of fluorescent nanomaterials made by FRI students in the Smart and Clean Energy lab, illuminated by ultraviolet light. These nanomaterials are promising for next generation solar cells and other smart energy applications such as light emitting diodes (LEDs) and sensing.

Cohort 10 2023-24 in Fall 2023, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  •  Engineering molecules with computer simulations for spintronics
  • Lead-free perovskite solar cells
  • Platinum alloy electrocatalysts in hydrogen evolution
  • Pt-alloy catalysts for oxygen reduction reaction in fuel cells
  • Silica coating on perovskite quantum dots for white emission LEDs

Cohort 9 2022-23 in Fall 2023, as second-year students (research results)

  • Encapsulating CsPbBr3 perovskite quantum dots with lead sulfide
  • Pt-Ni-Cu nanoframes for formic acid oxidation in fuel cells 
  • Pt-Ni-Ru nanoframes electrocatalyst for hydrogen evolution via water electrolysis
  • Synthesizing tin-based perovskite quantum dots using weak ligands

Cohort 9 2022-23 in Fall 2022, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Emerging organic-inorganic hybrid perovskite layered solar cells
  • Future of producing perovskite solar cells, blade- vs. spin-coating
  • Hydrogen evolution by water electrolysis for energy storage
  • Improving the stability of perovskite quantum dots with encapsulation
  • Non-platinum catalysts for methanol oxidation in direct methanol fuel cells

Cohort 8 2021-22 in Fall 2022, as second-year students (research results)

  • Computational studies of Pt-based alloys for methanol oxidation reaction
  • Facile synthesis of Pt-Ni-Cu nanoframes for methanol electro-oxidation reaction
  • Novel 2D/3D perovskite quantum dots with tunable blue emission
  • Syntheses of lead-free quantum dots for use in solar cell devices
  • Synthesis study of CsPbBr3 quantum dots-based nanocomposites

Cohort 8 2021-22 in Fall 2021, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Composition dependent tunable emission spectrum of inorganic perovskite quantum dots
  • Effective transition metal oxides used for sodium-ion battery cathodes
  • Effects of composition on perovskite solar cell efficiency
  • Maximizing H₂ production using a TiO₂-based photocatalyst
  • Non-platinum based catalysts for oxygen reduction reaction in fuel cells

Cohort 7 2020-21 in Fall 2021, as second-year students (research results)

  • Ab initio investigation of various Pb-free alloys for use in solder applications
  • Full replacement of lead in perovskite or perovskite derivative QDs
  • Developing stable CsPbBr₃ PQDs via modification of mid-synthesis silica encapsulation
  • Improving the stability of CsPbBr₃ perovskites with a TiO₂ shell
  • Metal-ion doping in CsPbX₃ perovskite nanocrystals (partial replacement)
  • Tuning the optical properties of perovkite nanocrystals using anion exchange

Cohort 7 2020-21 in Fall 2020, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Comparing electrochemical properties of metal ion batteries with TiX₂ layered material as cathodes
  • Comparing purification methods of gold nanoparticles used in the water decontamination process
  • Computationally optimizing cathode properties in calcium and magnesium ion batteries
  • Improving all-inorganic lead-based perovskite quantum dots via Mn doping
  • Improving CsPbBr₃ perovskite QLEDs synthesized with the room temperature method via surface ligand engineering

Cohort 6 2019-20 in Fall 2020, as second-year students (research results)

  • Computational investigation of a partially substituted tungsten chevrel phase as a cathode for multivalent ions
  • Improving stability of CsPbBr₃ perovskite quantum dots through partial replacement of lead
  • Reducing the toxicity of perovskite quantum dots through the replacement of lead
  • Stabilization of CsPbBr₃ perovskites via post-synthesis silica shelling
  • The effect of ligand ratio on the stability of CsPbBr₃ nanocrystals synthesized by supersaturated recrystallization and microwave synthesis

Cohort 6 2019-20 in Fall 2019, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Fully Replacing Lead in Perovskite Quantum Dots to Reduce Toxicity
  • Improving Optical Properties and Stability of CsPbX₃ Perovskite Quantum Dots via Hot Injection Method Using 1,2-Ethanedithiol Ligands
  • Increasing the Moisture Resistance of Perovskite Quantum Dots (CsPbX3) by Growing an Inorganic Shell
  • Tuning Optical Properties of Perovskite Quantum Dots by Doping with Metal Ions
  • Using Computational Methods to Evaluate and Improve Cyclability of Nickel-Substituted Manganese-Oxide Cathodes

Cohort 5 2018-19 in Fall 2019, as second-year students (research results)

  • Room-Temperature Synthesis of Manganese-Doped Silica-Coated CsPbBr3 Inorganic Perovskite Quantum Dots
  • Computational Investigation of a W6S8 Cathode with Multivalent Ions
  • Density Functional Theory Analysis of Titanium Dichalcogenide Cathodes
  • Highly Luminescent and Photostable CsPbBr3 Perovskite Quantum Dots via Facile Silica Encapsulation
  • Room Temperature Synthesis of CsPbBr3 Quantum Dots Using Trioctylphosphine Oxide and Phosphonic Acid Ligands

Cohort 5 2018-19 in Fall 2018, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Carbon quantum dots as environmental sensors of paraoxon
  • Comparing synthetic methods of quantum dot fabrication for reducing environmental impact
  • Comparing power conversion efficiencies of cadmium-based quantum dots in thin film solar cells
  • Effects of doping on the efficiency of methylammonium lead halide perovskite solar cells
  • Improving stability and efficiency of perovskite solar cells through layering

Cohort 4 2017-18 in Fall 2017, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Analyzing the Performance of Perylene Acceptors in Organic Photovoltaic Cells
  • What Are The Characteristics of Dielectric Constants Under The Influence of Microwaves?
  • EIS: The Future for Characterizing Heterojunctions
  • Comparison of Different Dopants in Titanium Dioxide for Use in Photocatalytic Water Splitting
  • Comparison of Fabrication Methods for PEDOT/ZnO, PEDOT/TiO2, PEDOT/Si, PSS:PEDOT/Si, and PSS:PEDOT/ZnO Heterojunctions

Cohort 3 2016-17 in Fall 2017, as second-year students (research results)

  • Determination of figure of merit values of copper(I) iodide thin films with high conductivies and transparencies
  • Electrodeposition of Inorganic and Organic Hybrid p-n Heterojunctions
  • Mediated Electropolymerization of Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) via Perovskite
  • Increased Adhesion of Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythophene) Grafted Thin Films on Polar Substrates

Cohort 3 2016-17 in Fall 2016, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Computational Modeling of Band Gaps in Semiconductors
  • The Future of Nanotechnology: It's in Our DNA
  • Doping Graphene for Energy Storage in Batteries
  • Perovskite Sensitized Photovoltaics: Halide Interchangability and Conductivity
  • Forget Caffeine! For a Serious Energy Difference, Use Graphene!
  • Are Clathrates the Future of Thermoelectric Devices?

Cohort 2 2015-16 in Fall 2016, as second-year students (research results)

  • Fabrication of a Flexible and Transparent CuI/a-IGZO Heterojunction
  • Fabrication Methods and Variations on Copper Iodide Thin Films
  • Synthesizing PEDOT Using Various Oxidants
  • Fabrication of PEDOT Thin Films Over a-IGZO using Oxidative Chemical Vapor Deposition and EDOT TMS Grafting

Cohort 2 2015-16 in Fall 2015, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Electrical Properties of a-IGZO TFTs Produced Via Spin-Coating & rf-Magnetron Sputtering
  • Supercapacitor Enhancer: Next Stop Graphene?
  • A Survey of Materials Used in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
  • Organic Solar Cells: Can Polymers Power our Future?
  • Comparison of Li-ion, Al-air and Gasoline Efficiency in Electric Vehicles

 Cohort 1 2014-15 in Fall 2015, as second-year students (research results)

  • Synthesizing Superior Supercapacitors
  • Copper Iodide: The Future of p-Type Semiconductors
  • A New Battery for a New Age
  • Examination of diode behavior of a novel organic-inorganic p-n junction

Cohort 1 2014-15 in Fall 2014, as first-year students (pre-proposal stage)

  • Desalination: Discovering the most efficient solution to conquering water shortage
  • The United States Hydroelectricity Problem
  • Fracking: is it worth it?
  • Direct Methanol Fuel Cell versus Li-ion Battery
  • The Future of Osmotic Power Production