One nice aspect about JUAMI has been the opportunity to make connections between different energy technologies and the materials upon which they rely. As an example, a common thread is the crucial role of nanoscale features in top-performing materials for nearly all the different technologies covered at the school.
In supercapacitors, nanoscale carbon-based materials improve energy density by increasing the surface area for electrostatic energy storage.
In dye-sensitized solar cells, nanoporous TiO2 is crucial to maximize surface area for dye molecules to transfer their photoexcited electrons.
For bulk heterojunction organic photovoltaics, the nanoscale phase separation of donor and acceptor components maximizes the interfacial area needed to split photogenerated excitons.
Nanoscale morphology can also increase thermoelectric (heat-to-electric) figure-of-merit via reduction of lattice thermal conductivity.
These are just a few examples – the list goes on and on!