Date of Award

December 2014

Degree Type


Embargo Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




James T. Spencer


Boron, Cluster, Macrocycle, Nano, Photovoltaics, Polythiophene

Subject Categories

Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Chapter 1: Dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC) efficiencies have not significantly improved in recent years, primarily because of their single band gap design, limitations in dye absorption energies, and the Shockley-Queisser (SQ) limit. DSSCs require incident photon energy in the visible spectrum for the cell to produce a usable current. While the possibility of absorbing two

near-infrared photons is a known concept for surmounting the SQ limit, the opportunities presented by mesoporous systems for creating such a sensitizer do not appear to have been studied. By incorporating carborane cluster-based macrocyclic compounds as "electron reservoirs," a number of the inherent limitations in DSSC systems can be potentially circumvented, including extending the useable photon energy into the IR region by using a multi-photon, multi-step mechanism, effectively surmounting the SQ limit.

Chapter 2: Recent experiments with hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) have shown

successful covalent and non-covalent functionalization of these nanostructures. Furthermore, experiments have also shown that the non-covalent functionalization of boron nitride nanosheets (BNNS) with polythiophene can produce a working photovoltaic device when attached to TiO2 nanoparticles as a semiconductor in a manner similar to a DSSC. This paper explores the characterizations of a new polythiophene-BNNS complex, as well as attempting to stabilize and functionalize BNNS with thiophene based monomers.


Open Access