New online database creates opportunities for renewable energy scientists

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This week Harvard University researchers launched a new database featuring over two million molecules considered useful in constructing organic solar cells for the production of renewable energy. The Harvard Gazette said that the goal of the online database is to provide a starting point for researchers working to increase solar energy technology efficiency that’s easy to produce and cheap.

This custom online database was developed as part of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Materials Genome Initiative (MGI).

“One of the problems with organic solar cells is, right now, there are only a handful of molecules that are in the same league with silicon in terms of efficiency,” Alán Aspuru-Guzik, professor of chemistry and chemical biology told the Harvard Gazette. “In many ways, biology is far ahead of chemistry. You can find the genome of a frog online  but you cannot do that for the quantum properties of molecular materials. This database will provide access to the ‘secret sauce’ of these materials, so people can explore innovative new ideas.”

Johannes Hachmann,research associate in Harvard’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology,  told the Harvard Gazette said that Harvard researchers worked with scientists at Stanford University to define and new class of molecules based on 26 fragments that could be arranged in over three million arrangements to create the database.

This web based database brings together all of the information gathered by the Harvard researchers and Stanford scientists and makes it accessible in one place, available to anyone interested with internet.