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Wagenknecht receives NSF grant

WagenknechtsmPaul Wagenknecht, Furman University Professor of Chemistry, has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to support investigations into cheaper ways to convert solar energy into electricity.

Among other technologies, the grant supports research related to optoelectronic devices such as dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs), a vehicle for converting solar energy into stored chemical energy or electricity. DSSCs are potentially cheaper and easier to produce than conventional solar panels, which may lead to cheaper electricity for everyone, and better availability of electricity for underdeveloped regions.

In addition to funding research related to DSSCs, the grant will support the study of transition metal complexes for use in organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), the materials used in the newest flat panel display devices such as televisions and hand held computing devices.

Says Dr. Wagenknecht, “Basically, our research is aimed at designing and studying molecules that might help us more efficiently turn solar energy into electricity, or electricity into light for flat panel displays or other consumer lighting LEDs. I’m excited about the opportunities this funding makes possible for students at Furman. Our students will be uniquely trained to solve some of our most vexing technological problems.”

With the grant, the Furman Department of Chemistry will purchase a new state-of-the-art instrument for studying how light and molecules interact, and will fund undergraduate research stipends.

The grant was awarded based on Wagenknecht’s proposal, “Synthesis and Photophysical Studies of Transition Metal Alkynyl Complexes for Applications in Photochemical Molecular Devices.”

Wagenknecht joined the Furman faculty in 2004. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Furman University and a doctorate from Stanford University.

For more information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at (864) 294-3107.

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