A team of Arkansas researchers led by Dr. Tansel Karabacak at UALR Department of Applied Science has been awarded a 3-year, $750,000 NASA Grant to develop photosensitive nanostructured materials for advanced solar cell and photodetector applications. The Arkansas NASA Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research Team, which includes researchers form UALR and ASU, was among 28 NASA recommended for funding during a national competition. The Arkansas team won for its proposal “Photoconductive and Photovoltaic Arrays of Inorganic Semiconductor Nanostructures for NASA-Related Light Detection, Sensor, and Energy Conversion Application.” This research team includes Dr. Tansel Karabacak from UALR as the Science Primary Investigator as well as Dr. Robert Engelken from ASU, and Dr. Hye-Won Seo from UALR as Co- Investigators.
The primary goal of this project is to develop a new approach to photoconductive/photovoltaic cell fabrication based upon generation of ordered arrays of inorganic photosensitive nanostructures with uniform feature shapes and sizes, and perform a systematic investigation of the material properties and geometrical effects, including nanostructure shape, size, and alignment, upon the nano-arrays’ optical absorption, photoconductive, and photovoltaic properties. The nanostructured arrays of inorganic semiconductors can lead to photodetectors and solar cells with superior sensitivities and energy conversion properties, and further open the possibility of expanding similar nanofabrication approaches to the development of other novel optical, optoelectronic, and sensor/transducer materials and devices.