Chemistry Professor Receives DOE Career Award

Tom Hamann

Tom Hamann

The US Department of Energy awarded Thomas Hamann, assistant professor of chemistry, an Early Career Research Award – a five-year award providing support to outstanding researchers during the early years of their careers.

Hamann was among 69 scientists selected from 1,150 applicants. His award is for research on “Molecular and Material Approaches to Overcome Kinetic and Energetic Constraints in Dye‐Sensitized Solar Cells” and is from the Office of Basic Energy Sciences.

The DoE’s Early Career Research Award is a newly introduced program to foster development of research programs in use-inspired Energy Science. The 2010/2011 competition was across all disciplines and included academic and DoE laboratory applicants. Each award provides research support over five years, and the full list of awards is available at

Abstract of the Research

Hamann’s research is to use a fundamental understanding of the kinetic processes within adye‐sensitized solar cell to move the design of this cell into newer and better regimes for assembly andperformance.  The efficiencies of present forms of this cell reached a plateau twenty years ago and this research intends to remove the limitations that have impeded progress since that time.

In this project, concerted changes will be made in the active chemical elements of the cell through the study and control of the electron transfer kinetics of the reactant dyes and regenerating agents and through are construction of the mesoscopic architecture of the substrate metal oxide electrode. Through a fundamental understanding of both homogeneous and heterogeneous electron transfer theory, new chromophores, solvents, and current carrying regenerating molecules will be selected and studied to define the limiting kinetic steps and processes within this complex system. As a perturbation uponthese kinetics, novel designs for the nanometer‐sized architectures of the metal oxide anode will be developed and synthesized, and their efficacy as a component in a dye sensitized system will be established and analyzed.