Molecular Diamond Science and Energy Applications
Diamondoids are molecular fragments of diamond recently discovered in oil. These tiny diamonds (~10^-21 carat) combine many of the facile processing of small molecules together with the unique properties of diamond. As one example, diamond surfaces are able to emit electrons much more easily than one would initially expect when the surface is hydrogen. Since diamondoids are essentially completely hydrogen-terminated diamond, we have investigated electron emission from ultra-thin films of these materials, with surprising results.
Based on these observations Dr. Melosh's research group suggests a new strategy to improve the efficiency of solar harvesting systems that relies upon direct electron emission rather than solid-state devices. A general outline of this technique will be described with some initial theoretical efficiency limits.