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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 17 faculty members including three 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, 100 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 15,000 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. Nearly 300 researchers from throughout the Southeast and beyond participate each year. The 2015 meeting will feature thirteen scientific speakers, with talks from renowned scientists such as Graham Fleming, UC Berkeley, Mark Ratner, Northwestern, Tobin Marks, Northwestern, Marc Baldo, MIT, Laura Gagliardi, Univ. of Minnesota, Ben Schwartz, UCLA, and Yiying Wu, Ohio State. We look forward to you joining us in Chapel Hill this October.

The 2015 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.


Friday Center

The conference will be held at UNC's William and Ida Friday Center, 100 Friday Center Dive, Chapel Hill, NC 27517

The Friday Center is a premier meeting and performance venue that combines the latest technology, architectural beauty, and personalized planning services to ensure that your event is a success.

The Conference Center hosts more than 700 events with approximately 73,000 participants annually. The facility has built-in technology systems in many of its 26 meeting spaces.

The building also houses a 400-seat auditorium and an on-site catering and dining facility.


Marriott Courtyard, Chapel Hill

For your convenience we have negotiated a group rate with the Courtyard Marriott, only a five minute walk from the Friday Center.

Our group rate is $139.00/night. Please register below by September 10th to lock in this rate.



Thursday, October 15, 2015

Morning Session:

Invited Talks: 8:45am-10:20am
Morning Break: 10:20am-10:40am
Invited Talks: 10:40am-12:00pm
Lunch: 12:00pm-1:30pm

Afternoon Session:

Invited Talks: 1:30pm-2:50pm
Afternoon Break: 2:50pm-3:10pm
Invited Talks: 3:10pm-4:30pm
Poster Session and Reception: 4:30pm-6:00pm

Friday, October 16, 2015

Morning Session:

Invited Talks: 9:00am-10:20am
Morning Break: 10:20am-11:00am
Invited Talks: 11:00am-1:00pm

Please scroll down for the detailed agenda.

SERC 2015 Program

Building the Dye-Sensitized Solar Fuel Device

Thursday, October 15, 2015
  08:45 AM - 09:00 AM Thomas J. Meyer, UNC EFRC Director,
Welcoming Remarks
  09:00 AM - 09:40 AM Graham Fleming, Berkeley
Photosynthetic Light Harvesting from Individual Complexes to the Grana Membrane
  09:40 AM ‐ 10:20 AM Michael Therien, Duke University
Highly Conjugated Porphyrin Based Structures for Photovoltaics
  10:20 AM ‐ 10:40 AM Break
  10:40 AM ‐ 11:20 AM Mark Ratner, Northwestern University
What Can Theory Tell Us About Organic-based Photovoltaics?
  11:20 AM ‐ 12:00 PM Tobin Marks, Northwestern University
Interface Science of Organic Photovoltaics
  12:00 PM ‐ 01:30 PM Lunch
  01:30 PM ‐ 02:10 PM Laura Gagliardi, University of Minnesota
Inorganometallic Catalyst Design Center
  02:10 PM ‐ 02:50 PM Alexander Miller, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Light-driven Hydride Transfer in the Synthesis of Solar Fuels
  02:50 PM ‐ 03:10 PM Break
  03:10 PM ‐ 03:50 PM Ben Schwartz, University of California at Los Angeles
Avoiding the Kinetics of the Bulk Heterojunction: Sequential Processing and Self-assembled Nanomaterials for Organic Photovoltaics
  03:50 PM ‐ 04:30 PM David Beratan, Duke University
Focusing Oscillator Strength and Mapping Dexter Pathways
  04:30 PM ‐ 06:00 PM Poster Session and Social Hour
  06:30 PM ‐ 09:00 PM Speakers' Dinner
Friday, October 16, 2015
  09:00 AM ‐ 09:40 AM Marc Baldo, Massachussetts Institute of Technology
Exciton Fission and Fusion for Energy Conversion
  09:40 AM ‐ 10:20 AM Phil Castellano, North Carolina State University at Raleigh
Photochemical Upconversion: Molecules and Materials
  10:20 AM ‐ 11:00 AM Break
  11:00 AM ‐ 11:40 AM Yiying Wu, Ohio State University
Dye-Sensitization for Solar Fuels and Solar Batteries
  11:40 AM ‐ 12:20 PM Jillian Dempsey, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Extending Charge Separation Across Interfaces in Dye-Sensitized Photoelectrosynthesis Cells
  12:20 PM ‐ 01:00 PM Art Nozik, University of Colorado at Boulder
Approaches to High Efficiency Solar Photon Conversion to Solar Fuels: Multiple Exciton Generation in Quantum Dots, Molecular Singlet Fission, and Associated Z Schemes

Featured Speakers

Marc Baldo

Marc Baldo

David Beratang

David Beratan
Duke University

Felix Castellano

Felix Castellano
North Carolina State University

Jillian Dempsey

Jillian Dempsey
University of North Carolina

Graham Fleming

Graham Fleming
UC Berkeley

Laura Gagliardi

Laura Gagliardi
University of Minnesota

Tobin Marks

Tobin Marks

Alex Miller

Alex Miller
University of North Carolina

Arthur Nozik

Arthur Nozik
University of Colorado

Mark Ratner

Mark Ratner

Ben Schwartz

Ben Schwartz

Michael Therien

Michael Therien
Duke University

Yiying Wu

Yiying Wu
Ohio State




Registration & payment information

Attention poster presenters: abstract submission closes on September 15th 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 15th for these early-bird rates:

Regular Attendee: $150
Graduate Student/Postdoc: $75
Undergraduate: $25
Conference Donor: $0

After September 15th Regular Attendee and Gaduate Student/Postdoc rates increase by $25.

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

Sponsorship Information

We invite interested businesses and companies to participate as a conference sponsor, and/or have a physical presence at the meeting.
The latter could include a booth or table during the conference poster session and at the lunch and meeting breaks on October 15.
Sponsorship provides your company with an opportunity to interact with and support the local scientific research community. Your sponsorship would be acknowledged on the conference website and in all conference advertisements and print materials. Note the sponsorship benefits below:

6th Annual Solar Energy Research Center Sponsorship Benefits

Friend of SERC
Complimentary full conference registration 6 4 2 1
2-3 minute video/slides of your company played during break YES NO NO NO
Designation as Co-Sponsor of the Conference YES YES NO NO
Demonstration table at Thursday lunch and poster session YES YES YES NO
Sponsorship recognition with your logo and a description of your company on the Conference website. Logo on Conference program, signs and banners 100 word description 50 word description 15 word description Logo Only

Our Sponsors

  • Edinburgh Instruments
  • Hamamatsu
  • Solar Fuels Institute
  • Quantachrome Instruments
  • Quantachrome Instruments
  • UNC Institute for the Environment
  • Shimadzu Scientific Instruments
  • Origin Lab
  • Unisense
  • UNC Office of the Chancellor
  • CH Instruments
  • 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.