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Published on-line at 03:45:46 PM on Monday, October 24th, 2011

Study of energy and charge flow in novel ad-hoc synthesized systems: towards intelligent systems for organic photovoltaics

Mariangela Di Donato has won a grant of €768.800 by FIRB to study structure and dynamics of complex molecules involved in photosynthesis.

High efficiency of energy and charge transport inside biological photosynthetic systems is still a mistery: just think that a commercial photovoltaic panel achieves an efficiency in transforming solar energy in electricity from 10% to 20%, while some processes in nature exceed 90%. Many processes involved in photosynthesis are now well known, but to explain some details seems to be necessary to take into account quantum effects at relative large scale.

Mariangela Di Donato

Addressing the challenge of a complete comprehension of photosynthesis to try to implement an artifical one needs a better knowledge of structure and dynamics of molecules involved. Mariangela Di Donato, who has been assigned a grant of €768.800 by Future in Research program of Italian MIUR, will bring forward a three years project at LENS in collaboration with the University of Parma and the INSTM (Consorzio Interuniversitario Nazionale per la Scienza e Tecnologia dei Materiali) in Pisa. The three groups will work in parallel, each focusing on a specific issue of the problem: at LENS, Mariangela will apply advanced spectroscopic techniques to characterize the structure and dynamics of many useful molecules and to identify the most promising. Groups at INSTM and University of Parma will develop theoretical models and perform computer simulations to understand the behavior of these molecules in different environmental conditions and finally to synthesize them.

The final aim of the project is so to identify and engineer new promising molecules for energy and charge transport to be used in the next generation of organic photovoltaic panels.