May 27, 2019 · AMOLF Lecture Room · Joanna Aizenberg (Harvard University, Cambridge)

New bio-inspired materials: When chemistry meets optics, mechanics and surface science

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Research fields

Using the tools of physics and design principles, AMOLF researchers study complex matter, such as light at the nanoscale, living matter, designer matter and nanoscale solar cells. These insights open up opportunities to create new functional materials and to find solutions to societal challenges.

Explore the AMOLF research themes
  • How an old method helps to understand new solar cells

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  • Internationale beurs voor onderzoek naar symbiotische netwerken

    AMOLF-groepsleider Tom Shimizu (Systems Biology) heeft samen met collega-onderzoekers uit Nederland, de Verenigde Staten en Japan een beurs van 1,2 M€ ontvangen van het Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP). Naast …

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  • International award for research on symbiotic networks

    AMOLF group leader Tom Shimizu (Systems Biology) and colleagues from the Netherlands, USA and Japan have received a 1.2 million dollar research grant from the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP).

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  • Under our skin: how hyaluronan regulates the stiffness of tissue

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Directivity to improve optical devices

A team of researchers from AMOLF, Western University (Canada), and the University of Texas (USA) recently demonstrated the use of algorithmic design to create a new type of nanophotonic structure. This is good news for researchers in optical quantum computing and photovoltaics, because the structure is able to greatly improve the directivity of nanoscale emitters (in light emitting diodes, or single photon sources) and absorbers (in solar cells or photodetectors). The researchers publish their findings online in Nature Communications on November 9th, 2018.

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Light multiplication for stable improvement of solar cells

By converting one high-energy light particle into two low energy particles, singlet fission makes high energy photons available for solar cells

Now that solar cells based on silicon technology have almost reached their efficiency limits, researchers from all over the world are looking for alternative technologies to further improve solar cell efficiency. Physicists from AMOLF and Cambridge University have used modelling techniques to compare two such promising technologies: singlet fission photon multipliers and tandem solar cells. While the potential efficiency improvement is almost equal, the singlet fission photon multiplier turned out to be more stable under varying weather conditions. Also, the singlet fission photon multiplier does not require modifications to the silicon technology, which means it could even be used to improve existing solar cells. The researchers published their findings online in ACS Energy letters on 3 October 2018.

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