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Outreach Activities

 
The CCI Solar outreach programs include: Harry's Solar Army, co-operative work with other institutions, providing research oppportunities for a wide variety of individuals, media appearances, and more. Sightings of the Solar Army on the web and in print can be seen here.  Recent appearances can be found at the In the News link.  Universities and Colleges who would like to partner with the CCI Powering the Planet Project to expand opportunities for groups under-represented in the chemistry profession should contact Harry's Solar Army by email (solarmy "at" caltech.edu).  Dino Villagran UT El Paso and Jorge Colon at UPR Rio Piedras are partnering with CCI Solar to expand the reach of the Solar Army and bring new research opportunites to students at these schools.  Cal-State LA (CSULA) and Southern University (SU), play a important role in expanding CCI research opportunities for undergraduates.


Solar Energy Activity Lab (SEAL), a distributed combinatorial solar materials discovery program, employs 64 pulsed LEDs to screen an 8x8 array of materials for photoelectrochemical activity. The SEAL program offers high school and college students the opportunity to participate in scientific research aimed at discovering new materials with photoelectrochemical water-splitting activity. Students upload their results to a searchable online database allowing them to compare their results with others. The most promising hits from the SEAL program can become targets for further investigation by CCI Solar researchers. An annual Southern California Solar Army/SEAL Convention is held at Caltech. The SEAL program has approximately 70 sites located throughout North America, Europe and Africa. Visit the SEAL website for more information.





Juice From Juice: A Workshop on Solar Energy for Teachers 
We offer day-long workshops for science teachers who want to add some excitement and depth to their lessons. Participants learn to make their own dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC), and practice three different lesson plans -- chemistry, physics and biology.  In addition, they are entitled to follow-up support from the Caltech researchers who teach the workshop. It's a fun, intense day with lots of rewarding outcomes. Visit  the Juice from Juice website to download lesson plans and watch videos of the various procedures.
Juice from Juice DSSC Kits now available for purchase from Arbor Scientific.



Heterogeneous Anodes Rapidly Perused for Oxygen Overpotential Neutralization (HARPOON).

CCI is developing a variant of the SEAL program aimed at combinatorial screening of materials with electrochemical water oxidation activity. In this approach, an array of metal oxides is deposited on a conducting glass substrate. A stainless steel mesh coated with a commercially available O2-sensitive fluorophore is placed just above the array and both, along with a counter electrode, are immersed in an electrolyte. The conducting glass electrode is biased anodically, the O2-sensing mesh is illuminated (400 nm), and a digital camera records the fluorescence of the O2-sensitive dye to identify potential electrocatalysts.32 The HARPOON apparatus is undergoing beta-testing with undergraduates at UW-Madison and UW-Oshkosh. The HARPOON project will then be expanded to include 2-4 external institutions chosen from successful SEAL sites. HARPOON development will be coordinated with the SEAL program to ensure array compatibility and create the opportunity for the two platforms to be used together.


Informal Science Education:
 A growing body of research suggests that learning experiences outside of the classroom are integral to scientific education in the United States. Given the central role of chemistry in sustainable energy solutions, chemistry-based ISE is poised to become a particularly fruitful endeavor. We have initiated informal science education programs with the Westside Science Club, the Wildwood School in Santa Monica. CCI Solar will reach a new and younger audience through an out-of-school program that uses Juice for Juice and SEAL activities as springboards to inquiry-based STEM experiences. Wildwood students already are engaged in Juice for Juice and SEAL activities; they will serve as peer mentors to the younger members of the Science Club. CCI Solar is also developing plans to partner with the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History to reach more young people through family-day activities.

The Solar Hydrogen Activity Research Kit (SHArK) Project initiated by Dr. Bruce Parkinson at the University of Wyoming was established in 2008. This project provides a unique approach to learning chemistry that engages young people by participating in actual research to help solve the global energy problem. The goal of this project is to find a metal oxide semiconductor material that can split water into hydrogen and oxygen using sunlight.  Visit the SHArK page on this website to see the project in action.

Dr. Matt Carlson's Science Theater is a program designed for high school students. CCI will be working with Dr. Carlson to develop iPod energy modules for wide distribution.  You can find the Science Theater videos on Dr. Carlson's website as well as a few interviews with Caltech scientists here.

Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer:  This web site developed by Dr. Sharon Hammes-Schiffer's group provides basic information on proton-coupled electron-transfer (PCET) reactions as well as a  series of Java Servlets to enable calculations of PCET rates with harmonic, Morse, and general proton potentials using "exact," fixed proton donor-acceptor distance R, low-frequency R-mode, and high-frequency R-mode rate constant expressions.  The rates and KIEs can be plotted as a function of temperature and driving force, and an analysis of the contributions of all relevant pairs of reactant/product vibronic states is provided.