In a time of dwindling energy resources and economic recession, the ability to turn innovative research in renewable energy and energy-saving technology into commercial products is doubly opportune. Five UCSB professors will receive $2.1 million to share with scientists at the University of Cambridge to work toward that goal.
The UCSB-Cambridge project, “Harnessing Materials for Energy,” is one of 10 Sciences Bridges awards granted this year by the Research Council U.K., an organization that seeks to encourage research with strong international collaborations and links with businesses. The award supports the efforts of scientists at both universities who are already working together in the field of energy-related materials.
The researchers aim to increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of solar cells to make solar power, a renewable energy source, more viable. They also endeavor to improve the low-energy technology of light emitting diodes (LED) by developing more efficient LED structures.
“Both Cambridge and UCSB are interested in providing alternate forms of light,” said Fred Wudl, lead investigator of the project and professor of chemistry and biochemistry, in a UCSB press release. “So our center for light is a big part of this. We’re all trying to do something to lessen our carbon footprint.”
The goal of the project is to turn the cutting-edge research into prototype products that will ultimately become marketable, thereby increasing energy efficiency to help combat the global energy crisis and generating important commercial opportunities.
The other UCSB scientists involved in the research project are Steven DenBaars, codirector of the Solid State Lighting and Energy Center and professor of materials and of electrical and computer engineering; Alan Heeger, Nobel laureate and professor of physics and of materials; Guillermo Bazan, professor of materials and of chemistry and biochemistry; and Thuc-Quyen Thai Nguyen, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry.