Jesse Manders, US (East Coast)
During his undergraduate years, Jesse researched the chemistry of nanomaterials and biomolecules related to drug delivery and neurodegerative diseases, as well as the optical physics of waveguides related to telecommunications systems. After receiving his BSc in Engineering Physics at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 2009, he enrolled at the University of Florida, where he is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Jesse's current research focuses on developing novel materials for organic and quantum optoelectronic devices, including infrared and ultraviolet sensors, and flexible photovoltaics. One of his highest goals is to increase science literacy in society by using education, outreach, and engagement to ignite the human passion for discovery. Outside of the lab, Jesse enjoys tutoring high school and undergraduate chemistry, exploring new places, learning new skills and languages, and playing several sports, such as basketball, volleyball and frisbee.
A bright future with Scalable and flexible materials for harvesting solar energy
In a society concerned with environmental, economic, and geopolitical consequences of energy consumption, new energy sources are needed to secure a prosperous future. Organic photovoltaics (OPVs) are emerging as viable alternative energy sources for several important reasons: they are compatible with low-cost, large-scale manufacturing, can easily be integrated into urban or rural environments, and can be manufactured on flexible substrates with a wide variety of shapes and sizes, making artistic, yet functional applications realistic. Recent advances in the understanding of the chemistry and physics of OPVs are pushing the energy harvesting efficiency, or power conversion efficiency, to new heights. Record high power conversion efficiencies reaching beyond 8% in solar cells compatible with large-scale roll-to-roll (i.e. newspaper-like) printing have been demonstrated in our laboratory. To bring OPVs to the forefront of the renewable energy push, continuous development of new materials and processing techniques in our laboratory and around the world is essential. As the world increasingly focuses on providing sustainability to future generations, these recent advances and ongoing development projects will certainly play an integral role in solving our global energy problems.