Research Group Peter Schall

Institute of Physics, University of Amsterdam

Project: Nanocrystal films as spectral converters to enhance photosynthesis

Despite many years of photosynthesis research, the photosynthetic efficiency remains low. One reason is that plants use only specific spectral regions for photosynthesis (mostly the red light, that’s why the leaves are green); the spectrum of the sunlight, however is much broader and contains much more energy. We use nanocrystals to convert less efficient (blue/green) or even harmful light (UV) into wavelengths that are of better use for the plant. By embedding the nanocrystals in a transparent medium (foil), we then “shape” the solar spectrum into a spectrum that’s most useful. The picture above illustrates the principle: highly luminescent inorganic perovskite nanocrystals embedded in foils will absorb part of the UV/blue spectrum and emit orange to red light that is used efficiently in photosynthesis and thereby enhances plant growth. Perovskite nanocrystals are ideal candidates for the spectral conversion due to their tunable bandgap and high quantum yield. In this project, you will investigate the most suitable candidate nanocrystal materials, make stable and concentrated NC films, and test the films directly in the growth of algae and plants, in collaboration with our neighbour institute IBED.

Contact details:
Supervisor:            Peter Schall,      p.schall@uva.nl
daily supervisor:  Ina Flaucher,    i.j.flaucher@uva.nl

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