Published: Jan. 20, 2021


Cooperative Energy Pooling (CEP) for photonic upconversion is a method in which a material absorbs low-energy photons and emits photons of higher energy and is a well-established technology. This mechanism requires a solid-state structure of two different types of organic molecules: acceptors and sensitizers. Sensitizers are the molecules that absorb the lower energy photons, transform them to a single high energy photon, and pass them to the acceptors, which emits a single high energy photon.


Associate Professor Sean Shaheen and his research group at CU Boulder have developed a method that increases the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of CEP. This disclosed invention provides a new concept for achieving photonic upconversion in organic, molecular materials via the mechanism of Cooperative Energy Pooling (CEP). A technique to enhance cooperative energy pooling (CEP) using silicon phthalocyanine as a sensitizer molecules in the sensitizer/acceptor method for photonic upconversion, as well as American Dye Source 259 and 128. Specific combinations of these molecules have produced an increase in the photonic upconversion efficiency because these particles do not induce quenching, but rather aggregation induced emission.  Additionally, this lab has developed a method for achieving photonic upconversion in two-photon conjugated polymer thin films and polymer nanoparticles that have been sensitized with the molecules necessary for this process. The lab found that the upconverted emission is ~10x stronger than currently available techniques, and still maintaining an easy method for processing into a wide variety of optoelectronic devices requiring either thin film or nanoparticle formulations.


  • Significantly increased efficiency for up-conversion
  • Cost-effective
  • 10x stronger than currently available techniques


  • Enhanced solar cell devices
  • Deep-tissue photodynamic cancer therapies
  • Quantum cryptography
  • 3D data storage


This technology is available for exclusive or non-exclusive licensing and partnerships.


Nicole Forsberg: