MacQueen is researching into optical energy converters for generating fuels: Funding through the Helmholtz Postdoc Programme

Dr. Rowan W. MacQueen will come in spring 2016 to the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and will receive funding for his research project through the Helmholtz Postdoc Programme. He will be studying the optoelectronic properties at the boundaries of thin organic layers to oxides. These are relevant in developing optical energy converters for generating fuels. The “Helmholtz Postdoc Programme” will fund the Australian researcher with 100,000 Euro annually for a period of up to three years. 

MacQueen currently researches at the University of Sydney (USYD) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW). He has chosen to come to the HZB because the “Energy Materials In-Situ Laboratory (EMIL)” at BESSY II offers the perfect experimental conditions for his project. The components for his planned experiments are being developed at the HZB Institutes of “Solar Fuels” and “Silicon Photovoltaics”, and at the Competence Centre Thin-Film and Nanotechnology for Photovoltaics Berlin (PVcomB). MacQueen became acquainted with the HZB in mid-2015 during an exchange programme funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Rowan Mac Queen earned his doctorate at USYD in October 2014, after which he worked as a postdoc in the “Molecular Photonics” group. He is currently concentrating on volatile electronic processes in organic materials, which he is studying using various spectroscopic methods. “My work could provide a basis for developing new, higher efficiency components for energy conversion. If we were to use molecular light converters in solar fuel devices, then we could use a broader spectrum of light more efficiently for producing hydrogen from light. Presently, the energy of low-energy light is normally lost, since the photons can’t be absorbed into the material. At the same time, organic light converters are an interesting test field for understanding the fundamental photochemical processes in organic materials,” MacQueen explains.

Still in the early stages of his research career, the Australian has published 13 papers and is co-owner of two patents. MacQueen will be researching at the HZB Institute for Nanospectroscopy.

Klaus Lips, professor at the FU Berlin who also works at the Institute, says: “With Rowan MacQueen, we are gaining a brilliant and highly motivated young scientist whose expertise is an ideal complement to our ambitious research programme in renewable energies”.

About the Helmholtz Postdoc Programme
The Helmholtz Association established the Helmholtz Postdoc Programme to support the community of talented young scientists, fresh from earning their PhDs, in continuing to develop their scientific excellence. With two to three years of individual funding, they can make a direct transition from their PhD studies to pursuing a research topic of their own choosing, and establish themselves in that field of research. The Helmholtz postdocs also have the opportunity to attend courses at the Helmholtz Management Academy to develop their management skills. More


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