Associate Professor Renee Frontiera receives Department of Energy grant for solar photochemistry research

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (10/11/2022)—University of Minnesota Twin Cities Department of Chemistry Associate Professor Renee Frontiera has received $635,000 from the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science for her research on solar photochemistry. Her project will focus on using advanced Raman spectroscopy techniques to improve the design of molecular systems for solar energy conversion.

“We're incredibly excited about this support from the DOE which will enable us to understand how molecules can use sunlight to drive chemical reactions,” Frontiera said. “We plan to take ‘molecular movies’ of molecules reacting after absorbing light, and use that information to guide rational design of new systems with improved performance. This work could lead to the design of efficient solar cells made out of environmentally friendly materials.”

Frontiera’s research group specializes in using new spectroscopic techniques and has made a number of technical improvements to the femtosecond stimulated Raman spectroscopy (FSRS) technique, which can monitor structural changes in chemical systems on an ultrafast timescale. The researchers aim to use this technique to identify nuclear coordinates and vibrational coherences that drive solar energy conversion processes in photovoltaic and photocatalytic systems, ultimately finding ways to make them more efficient.

Learn more about Frontiera’s research.