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About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Solar Energy Research Center - UNC SERC

The UNC SERC was founded in 2008 to serve as a regional hub for solar energy research. Its primary goal is to contribute to our energy future by taking a cue from natural photosynthesis by finding and developing ways to capture and store the energy of the sun in the high-energy chemical bonds of hydrogen and carbon-based solar fuels. Led by Professor Tom Meyer, the Center has attracted $33 million dollars in research funding and has taken a national leadership role scientifically and politically with workshops, conferences, symposia and public outreach forums with political and industry leaders. Through the Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, funded UNC Energy Frontier Research Center, UNC EFRC, UNC SERC features the research of 16 faculty members including two members of the National Academy of Sciences.

Our research is headquartered at UNC, and through the UNC EFRC, UNC SERC is training the next generation of energy scientists with 70 Postdoctoral Fellows, 110 graduate students, and 30 undergraduate students trained or currently in training. UNC SERC has also taken a leadership role in educating the community by participating in outreach activities with over 20,000 people interactions so far, and bringing together industrial, academic and political leaders to discuss the future of solar and renewable energies in North Carolina.

As part of its outreach, UNC SERC has organized an annual scientific conference featuring local, national, and internationally recognized experts in solar fuels and related areas. Our previous meetings have been enthusiastically received, featuring prominent speakers from the U.S., Italy, Sweden, and Japan, with keynote talks from Nobel Prize nominees Michael Grätzel, Lausanne, and Louis Brus, Columbia University. Over 200 researchers from throughout the Southeast and beyond participate each year.

The 2016 meeting will feature seventeen scientific speakers, with talks from renowned scientists such as Neal Armstrong, University of Arizona, Victor Batista, Yale University, Elena Galoppini, Rutgers University, Elena Jakubikova, North Carolina State University, David Jonas, University of Colorado Boulder, Matt Kanan, Stanford University, Stephen Leone, University of California, Berkeley, Tim Lian, Emory University, Toni Llobet, Institut Català d'Investigació Química, Biwu Ma, Florida State University, Brian O'Regan, Imperial College London, John Reynolds, Georgia Institute of Technology, Chad Risko, University of Kentucky, Maureen Rouhi, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Esther Takeuchi, Stony Brook University. We look forward to you joining us in Chapel Hill this October.

The 2016 SERC Conference

As part of our outreach, UNC SERC organizes an annual scientific conference featuring local, national, and internationally recognized experts in solar fuels and related areas.


Carolina CLub

The conference will be held at UNC's Carolina Club, 150 Stadium Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.

The Carolina Club in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is located in the George Watts Hill Alumni Center at the University of North Carolina. The Carolina Club is a private business and social club offering its Members fine dining, networking and efficient business opportunities.


Marriott Courtyard, Chapel Hill

For your convenience we have negotiated a group rate with the Courtyard Marriott, only a five minute drive to the Carolina Club.

Our group rate is $144.00/night. Please register below by October 3rd to lock in this rate. Reference “UNC SERC Conference Oct2016,” to get the group rate.



Thursday, October 20, 2016

Morning Session:

Invited Talks: 8:50am-10:20am
Morning Break: 10:20am-10:50am
Invited Talks: 10:50am-12:20pm
Lunch: 12:20pm-1:10pm

Afternoon Session:

Invited Talks: 1:40pm-3:10pm
Afternoon Break: 3:10pm-3:50pm
Keynote: 3:50pm-4:30pm
Poster Session and Reception: 4:30pm-7:00pm

Friday, October 21, 2016

Morning Session:

Invited Talks: 9:00am-10:30am
Morning Break: 10:30am-11:00am
Invited Talks: 11:00am-12:30pm
Concluding Remarks: 12:30am-12:45pm

Career Workshop: 1:00pm-5:00pm

Please scroll down for the detailed agenda.

SERC 2016 Program

Energy Storage - Fundamental to Applied

Thursday, October 20, 20165
  08:00 AM - 08:20 AM Registration - Alumni Hall
  08:20 AM - 08:40 AM Thomas J. Meyer, UNC EFRC Director
Welcoming Remarks
All talks in Alumin Hall - Carolina Club
  08:40 AM - 09:10 AM Amanda Morris
Fundamental Aspects of Metal Organic Framework Artificial Photosynthetic Arrays
  09:10 AM - 09:40 AM Toni Llobet
Molecular Catalyst Design for Artificial Photosynthesis
  09:40 AM - 10:10 AM Matt Kanan
Carbonate-Catalyzed CO2 Utilization
  10:10 AM ‐ 10:30 AM Coffee Break - Alumni Hallway
SESSION II - Materials/Synthesis
  10:30 AM - 11:00 AM Elena Galoppini
Anchoring Molecules to Nanostructured Metal Oxides:  Stepwise Binding and Other Strategies
  11:00 AM - 11:30 AM Biwu Ma
Organometal Halide Perovskites: Bulk Quantum Materials from 3D to 2D, 1D, and 0D
  11:30 AM - 12:00 PM James Cahoon
Design, Synthesis, and Passivation of Metal Oxide Photocathodes: Fixing and Moving Beyond NiO
  12:00 PM - 01:00 PM Lunch – Alumni Hall III – Carolina Club
  01:00 PM - 02:30 PM Poster Session – Alumni Hall III – Carolina Club
  02:30 PM - 03:00 PM Neal Armstrong
Metal or Metal Oxide/Semiconductor, organic or nanocrystalline, Heterojunctions: From OPVs to Photocatalytic Nanocrystalline Materials Platforms
  03:00 PM - 03:30 PM John Reynolds
Conjugated Polymers in Redox Active Devices:  Charge Storage as a Case Study
  03:30 PM - 04:00 PM Brian O'Regan
Investigations of Photoelectrochemical and Perovskite Solar Cells Using Pulsed Light and Stepped Voltage Transients.
  04:00 PM - 04:20 PM Break
  04:20 PM - 05:00 PM Ester Takeuchi - Keynote Speaker
Battery Science: At the Confluence of Electrochemistry and Materials Science
  05:00 PM - 07:00 PM Poster Session and Social Hour
Friday, October 21, 2016
All talks in Alumin Hall - Carolina Club
  08:40 AM - 09:10 AM Maureen Rouhi
Communicating Your Science Broadly: Leveraging Institutional Expertise
SESSION IV - Spectroscopy
  09:10 AM - 09:40 AM Stephen Leone
Ultrafast X-Ray Charge State Dynamics of Transition Metal Oxides, Semiconductors, and Junctions
  09:40 AM - 10:10 AM Tim Lian
Long Distance Charge Separation and Light-Driven H2 Generation in Multicomponent Semiconductor-Metal Colloidal Nanorod Heterostructures
  10:10 AM ‐ 10:40 AM David Jonas
Energy Transfer Lessons from Photosynthesis
  10:40 AM - 11:00 AM Coffee Break - Alumni Hallway
SESSION V - Theory
  11:00 AM - 11:30 AM Elena Jakubikova
Toward the Understanding of Photoexcited Processes in Fe(II)-Based Chromophores
  11:30 AM - 12:00 PM Chad Risko
Theory-Driven Approaches to Design π-Conjugated Organic Materials for Electronics and Energy-Storage Applications
  12:00 PM ‐ 12:30 PM Victor Batista
Studies of Oxomanganese Complexes for Natural and Artificial Photosynthesis
  12:30 PM ‐ 12:45 PM Concluding Remarks Scientific Session
SESSION VI - Scientific Careers Workshop
  01:00 PM ‐ 05:00 PM ACS Career Pathways™ Workshops

Featured Speakers

Neal Armstrong

Neal Armstrong
University of Arizona

Victor Batista

Victor Batista
Yale University

James Cahoon

James Cahoon
UNC Chapel Hill

Elena Galoppini

Elena Galoppini
Rutgers University

Elena Jakubikova

Elena Jakubikova
North Carolina State University

David Jonas

David Jonas
University of Colorado, Boulder

Matt Kanan

Matt Kanan
Stanford University

Stephen Leone

Stephen Leone
University of California, Berkeley

Tim Lian

Tim Lian
Emory University

Toni Llobet

Toni Llobet
Institut Català d'Investigació Química

Biwu Ma

Biwu Ma
Florida State University

Amanda Morris

Amanda Morris
Virginia Tech

Brian O'Regan

Brian O'Regan
Imperial College London

John Reynolds

John Reynolds
Georgia Institute of Technology

Chad Risko

Chad Risko
University of Kentucky

Maureen Rouhi

Maureen Rouhi
Georgia Institute of Technology

Esther Takeuchi

Esther Takeuchi
Stony Brook University




Registration & payment information

Attention poster presenters: abstract submission closes on September 20th and you must submit your abstract with your registration.
Graduate students and post-docs funded by the UNC EFRC must present a poster at the meeting.

Register HERE by September 20th for these early-bird rates:

Regular Attendee*: $150
Graduate Student/Postdoc*: $75
All Undergraduate Students: $25
Faculty from a Primarily Undergraduate Institution**: $75
Graduate Student/Postdoc from a Primarily Undergraduate Institution: $50

Registration fees are waived for members of UNC's Chemistry, Physics, Applied Physical Sciences, and Environmental Science and Engineering Departments.

We want everyone who is interested to have an opportunity to engage and benefit from the conference. A limited number of financial hardship registrations are available. Please contact Dr. Ralph House directly for more information.

*After September 20th Regular Attendee and Graduate Student/Postdoc rates increase by $25.

**Note that we are following NSF’s definition of a PUI which is "accredited colleges and universities, including two-year community colleges, that award Associate's degrees, Bachelor's degrees, and/or Master's degrees in NSF-supported fields, but have awarded 20 or fewer Ph.D./D.Sci. degrees in all NSF-supported fields during the combined previous two academic years.”

After September 20th Regular Attendee and Graduate Student/Postdoc rates increase by $25.

Kindly note that we cannot accept checks or cash. Please pay by credit card.

Donor Information

7th Annual Solar Energy Research Center Donor Information

Agilent Agilent Technologies provides state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation for academic, industrial and research laboratories worldwide.
Edinburgh Instruments Edinburgh Instruments are the world’s experts on providing the most sensitive, user-friendly, turn-key fluorimeters and transient absorption spectroscopy systems.
Gamry Gamry Instruments is a leading manufacturer of potentiostats/galvanostats, photoelectrochemical instrumentation, electrodes, and electrochemical cells.
Horiba Horiba Scientific - Fluorescence & Raman Spectroscopy systems. Or customize your own system from our components division.
Pine Research Instrumentation Pine Research Instrumentation manufactures a full line of affordable, durable and reliable electrochemical research equipment.
Shimadzu Shimadzu offers an extensive portfolio of analytical instruments for applications in a range of industries

Our Donors

  • Office of the Chancellor
  • Agilent
  • Edinburgh Instruments
  • Gamry
  • Hamamatsu
  • Horiba
  • Pine Research Instrumentation
  • Shimadzu
  • SOFI
  • UNC Institute for the Environment
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • Applied Physical Sciences
  • Office of the Provost
  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • The Graduate School
  • North Carolina

Contact Us

Please contact Dr. Ralph House at 919-962-5518 if you have any questions or need further information.