Researchers at Exciton Science, based at UNSW Sydney, have taken a significant step forward in solid-state photochemical conversion, bringing innovations in various fields such as renewable energy, water purification, and advanced healthcare closer to reality. This breakthrough paves the way for manufacturing functional devices on a large scale.

Photochemical conversion involves combining low-energy photons to create more energetic visible light that can be used by solar cells or utilized for other purposes. This process, known as “triple-triple annihilation,” generates a quasi-particle called an exciton. Controlling and reliably reproducing triple-triple annihilation and subsequent photochemical conversion could increase the efficiency limit of solar energy devices from 33.7% to 40% or more.

Much of the fundamental research on photochemical conversion has been conducted using liquid samples, but successfully demonstrating this mechanism in solid-state is crucial for real-world applications. In their study, the researchers created a thin film of nanostructured alumina dyed with a sensitizer. The pores of the structure were then filled with emitting molecules in a concentrated solution, resulting in a promising quantum photon generation yield of 9.4%.

The next step in this research is to achieve similar conversion results in a complete solid-state, which could potentially be achieved using a gel substance. The implications of this research are enormous. It could revolutionize healthcare by enabling laser precision treatments for tumors or creating drugs at specific locations within the body. Additionally, photochemical conversion can be used for water purification, generating higher energy light to disinfect water and save millions of lives in the developing world.

The applications of photochemical conversion do not stop there. Other potential uses include infrared technology such as night vision and even 3D printing. Exciton Science’s advancement paves the way for breakthroughs in renewable energy, healthcare, and various industries, propelling us towards a more sustainable and technologically advanced future.

Source: ACS Energy Letters, DOI: 10.1021/acsenergylett.3c01678