Cole Perkinson is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemistry, conducting research under Profs. Moungi Bawendi (Chemistry) and Marc Baldo (Electrical Engineering & Computer Science). Cole’s research focuses on a novel class of organic molecules that undergo singlet exciton fission, a process that effectively splits single high-energy photons into multiple lower-energy photons. This process has the potential to reduce heating losses from the absorption of blue and ultraviolet light in conventional solar cells. Cole also investigates the inverse process, exciton upconversion, in which two low-energy photons are converted into a higher-energy photon. Through a combination of chemical modeling, characterization, and practical device fabrication, Cole aims to discover new materials for singlet fission and exciton upconversion and to demonstrate their potential for overcoming conventional solar power conversion efficiency limits.
Cole graduated from Reed College in 2013 with a B.A. in Physics/Chemistry and from the University of Cambridge in 2015 with an M.Phil. in Physics. Outside of the lab, Cole is an active musician, teacher, strategy board game designer, and environmentalist. He has served as a member of the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative Student Advisory Council and as co-chair of the Graduate Student Council (GSC) Sustainability Subcommittee, where he helped lead interdepartmental efforts that resulted in the development of new online training courses on responsible waste disposal practices and energy conservation in the lab. Cole is grateful to the Martin Family Fellowship for enabling him to pursue collaborative research into novel systems for solar energy conversion.