Newcastle University Academic Track Fellowships NUAcT

Marina Freitag

Dr Marina Freitag

I am passionate about developing new light-powered technology, which will ensure a safe, prosperous and healthy future worldwide. To get a hope of replacing fossil fuels within the urgent timeframe needed to minimize the damage from climate change, researchers need to develop materials that can easily be mass-produced and convert enough sunlight into electricity to be worth the investment. There are a handful of competing photovoltaic technologies that are easier to manufacture than silicon-based photovoltaics, but these are dependent on raw materials that are more expensive and do not reach the same efficiency as silicon. The trade-off between these technologies has helped drive research to a third generation: hybrid solar cells, based on cheap and available raw materials, with the potential for much higher efficiency. Hybrid solar cells, which include dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) and lead halide perovskites, have two significant challenges: 1) reliable mass product tone techniques have not been demonstrated and 2) they tend to deteriorate rapidly in use.

My research has made me realize the potential of coordination polymers to solve the most important challenges in my research area, including issues of sustainability, stability and performance of hybrid solar cells. My idea is to fully utilize and expand the extraordinary properties of the resulting nano-materials, which are composed of molecular blocks through coordination-driven self-organization. The supramolecular structures can be multifunctional and combine remarkable physical and chemical properties.

I grew up in Berlin, Germany and graduated in Chemistry with BSc. at the Freie Universität Berlin in 2006 and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University, NJ, USA in 2011 under the leadership of Prof Elena Galoppini in Organic Chemistry and Electrochromic Devices. Followed by postdoctoral positions in Uppsala University (2013-15, Sweden, Dr Gerrit Boschloo), EPFL (2015-16, Switzerland, Prof Anders Hagfeldt, Prof Michael Grätzel) and an Assistant Professorship at Uppsala University (2016).