Research Initiation Awards provide support for junior and mid-career faculty at Historically Black Colleges and Universities who are building new research programs or redirecting and rebuilding existing research programs. It is expected that the award helps to further the faculty member's research capability and effectiveness, improves research and teaching at the home institution, and involves undergraduate students in research experiences. The award to Fayetteville State University has potential broader impacts in a number of areas. The goal of the project is to obtain a better understanding of the thermal, optical, and electronic properties of organic semiconductors. Such understanding will provide guidelines for the design, synthesis and fabrication of highly efficient polymer solar cells to the renewable energy industry. Undergraduate students will gain research experiences and the research will be integrated in an undergraduate course.<br/><br/>The research goals of the project are to (1) investigate the conditions for optimum solar cell coverage, (2) examine the impact of polymer conformation, molecular architecture of acceptors, and nano-morphology on charge generation, (3) understand the interface electronic properties in connection with charge separation dynamics, and (4) determine the importance of charge and thermal transport in non-fullerene polymer solar cells. Optical spectroscopy, charge transport measurements and morphological and structural characterizations will be used for completion of the project. The findings from this research will provide future directions for polymer and non-fullerene acceptor synthesis and the design of high efficiency organic electronic devices for solar cell applications. Investigation and improvement of these structures not only furthers our understanding of photophysical processes in organic semiconductors, but also impacts the world by providing inexpensive, renewable, green energy.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.