Date of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Materials Science

Committee Chair

Jack Skinner

First Advisor

Jerome Downey

Second Advisor

Wataru Nakagawa

Third Advisor

Paul Gannon

Fourth Advisor

Katherine Zodrow


The water-energy nexus has been described as one of the great problems of our time. In an ever-growing society the demand for resources such as water and electricity often dictate the magnitude and direction of growth of society. Efficient generation of electricity, with minimal socioeconomic pushback, is paramount in the stable growth of our society. Solar energy harvesting is a strong candidate for the efficient generation of electrical energy with increasingly minimal resource use in fabrication. As manufacturing processes improve and novel materials are discovered/optimized, solar energy harvesting becomes a more economically viable means of energy generation. Hybrid perovskites (HPs) represent the next-generation of solar energy harvesting materials due to favorable optoelectronic properties. Since first used as an absorber layer in a solar cell in 2012, HPs have experienced a ~10% increase in efficiency to 22.7%, and continue to climb. Despite the rapid climb in efficiencies, HPs solar cells have not been utilized the solar energy market due to intrinsic instabilities of the HP material itself. In order to implement the potentially disruptive HP technology, degradation triggered via environmental factors must be addressed.

In an effort to mitigate the degradation initiated by environmental factors, in particular moisture, novel HP composites and microstructures were created. HP composites were created both through melt and solution compounding methods. Melt compounding methods demonstrated the feasibility of the synthesis of the HP materials in situ in the polymer melt. Additionally, the moisture resilience of the material was demonstrated through an accelerated ageing study. The polymer melt compounding method was then utilized to produce a polymer melt feedstock for melt electrospinning and ultimate creation of HP composite microfibers. Solution compounding methods were then implemented to generate HP/polymer composites with regular dispersion and isotropic optoelectronic behavior.


A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy: Materials Science