“Rational Design of Molecular Materials: Molecular Springs, Solar Cells & More”
Present social and economic demands on energy sources are driving fundamental science and engineering research into alternative energy technologies. Our research focuses on combined experimental and efficient computational exploration of organic photovoltaics and piezoelectrics. We seek to find optimum or nearly-optimum materials properties through a combination of inverse design, genetic algorithms, and automated electronic structure calculations, combined with experimental synthesis and verification. With polymer solar cells, we have used a multi-objective genetic algorithm to uncover new design rules for highly-efficient targets. We also explore the charge transport in realistic, imperfect organic semiconductors to find design rules connecting nanoscale morphology with predicted current-voltage response. In piezoelectric materials, we have pioneered a new approach, using conformational distortions of individual molecules in an applied electric field to drive a “bottom-up” distortion, with greater piezo response than many conventional inorganics.
About Professor Hutchison
Geoff grew up in upstate New York and attended Williams College for undergrad. His Ph.D. is from Northwestern University, where he worked on rational design of transparent and conducting polymers. His postdoctoral research at Cornell University focused on single-molecule wires and novel cathodes for lithium-ion batteries.
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