Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Jonah Jurss

Relational Format



With growing energy demands, alternatives to the traditional non-renewable fuel sources are currently being explored. Of these alternative fuel sources, solar energy, particularly dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC), have garnered considerable interest. Traditional redox mediators within these solar cells have been triiodide/iodide couples, which pose several complications due to their corrosiveness, absorption in the visible range, and efficiency, motivating the development of better redox couples for next generation DSSCs. Thus, transition metal complexes have rapidly gained traction as a potential replacement for this traditional I-/I3- based system. In this study, a novel tetradentate ligand framework and its copper and nickel complexes are designed and synthesized to study these complexes’ viability as redox shuttles. Electrochemical studies of reversibility and scan rate dependence were performed on the copper complex to aid in establishing such viability. These results, along with the Cu(II/I) oxidation potentials were compared with other developed copper-based systems. The synthesized copper shuttle demonstrated electrochemical reversibility, and the Cu(II/I) potential was comparable to the shuttles reported in the literature. Future work to compare the synthesized complex to the nickel-based complex is currently in progress. Different electrochemical results from those observed in the copper complex are expected. Overall, this study illustrates that the synthesized copper complex could be a viable replacement for traditional redox mediators, but further testing should be conducted to establish its usefulness in an actual DSSC environment.

Available for download on Friday, September 02, 2022

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