Welcome to the Zukunftskolleg, Denisha Gounden

Denisha Gounden began her fellowship in August. She is affiliated with the Department of Chemistry, where she has joined the Hybrid Nanostructures group, headed by Professor Lukas Schmidt-Mende.

Denisha completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), South Africa. She is currently a PhD researcher in the School of Chemistry and Physics at UKZN. Her research is focused on energy production, which she considers to be one of the most important social challenges the world is currently facing. “Due to the ever-increasing demand, there is an urgent need to develop new materials and devices for solar energy conversion. My doctoral research focuses on the construction of efficient and economical solar cells for solar harvesting. My goal is to design and fabricate novel components to replace existing solar cell components so as to enhance their photovoltaic efficiency and provide economically viable alternatives. The combination of perovskites, phthalocyanines and possibly nanocellulose materials is expected to harvest a greater amount of light than traditional photovoltaics, which means we can have high current outputs at a lower cost”, she explains.  

Her research programme involves constructing inverted planar heterojunction solar cells where the active light absorbing layer made of perovskites and synthesized phthalocyanines behaves as the hole transport material (HTM). The efficiency of these cells will be tested against industrial standards.