Date of Award

December 2014

Degree Type


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