2016 Participants
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NAME: Grayce Behnke

The purpose of this project is to modify the surfaces of zinc oxide nanoparticles in order to improve the effectiveness of solar cells by decreasing corrosion and increasing energy efficiency. Through the process of self-assembled modification, the surfaces of zinc oxide nanoparticles will be modified with 16-phophonohexadecanoic acid, 12-phosphonododecanoic acid and 11-undecynylphosphonic acid. This method has seen success using both 16-phophonohexadecanoic acid and 12-phosphonododecanoic acid already and the hope is that similar success will be seen when using the 11-undecynylphosphonic acid. Trial and error will be used in order to determine the optimum conditions for the modifications to the zinc oxide surfaces and the success of modification will be determined using infrared spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering (DLS), zeta potential, ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy, and electrochemistry. The DLS is a new instrument that we plan to use for analytical characterization of particle size and zeta potential. Currently the optimal conditions for unmodified zinc oxide nanoparticles are being determined with the goal of analysis of surface modified samples


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