Advanced Materials for Solar Energy and Printed Electronics
Mechanical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Pratap M. Rao, Ph.D.
Pratap Rao is an Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). He received his BS in 2007 from WPI and his PhD in 2013 from Stanford University. He has co-authored 33 peer-reviewed papers that have appeared in Advanced Energy Materials, Nano Letters, and other journals, and have collectively been cited over 2,700 times. His work on materials for solar energy conversion and catalysis is currently funded by the National Science Foundation and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. His work on flexible hybrid electronics is currently funded by the NextFlex Manufacturing USA Institute. At WPI, he is the recipient of the James Nichols Heald Research Award.
I will present my research group’s work on a range of thin film materials and processes. First, I will present our work on nanostructured photo-electrochemical materials that harness solar energy to drive electrochemical reactions. This includes bismuth vanadium oxide (BiVO4) coated onto various metal oxide nanowires and nanotubes, and vertical nanoflakes of tin disulfide (SnS2). Such materials and processes could be the basis for future technologies for harvesting solar energy, producing renewable fuels and chemicals, and decontaminating water. Second, I will describe new work on photodetectors based on vertical SnS2 nanoflakes sensitized by lead sulfide quantum dots, recent work on hybrid organic/inorganic solar cells, and a recently-started project on inkjet printing of flexible electronics.