Photocatalyst architectures from biologically inspired self-assembly

December 10, 2013, US Department of Energy

Center for Nanoscale Materials' users from the Solar Energy Conversion group of Argonne's Chemical Sciences & Engineering Division (CSE) have used biologically inspired self-assembly to build photocatalyst architectures with highly integrated light-harvesting and catalyst components for light-activated hydrogen production. A key challenge in the design of new photocatalysts for the conversion of solar energy to chemical fuels is finding just the right connection between components to facilitate and stabilize the relevant electronic and chemical transformations.

Work recently published in Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. and highlighted as a HOT article by the editors describes a transformational strategy for the self-assembly of common and highly active cobalt-based H2 catalysts with light-harvesting components and importantly, demonstrates the very first time the mechanistically critical oxidation state has been generated using an ultrafast visible light source.

Time-resolved optical spectroscopy, performed in part at the Center for Nanoscale Materials, has enabled precise mapping of the electron transfer kinetics following visible excitation and shows that the active catalyst state decays through multiple energetic states within the photosensitizer-catalyst connection. This combination of new bio-inspired synthesis and high-resolution physical characterization will guide next generation designs for efficient .

Explore further: Polymer solar cells employing Forster resonance energy transfer

More information: A. Mukherjee et al., Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys.,15, 21070-21076 (2013).

Related Stories

New catalyst dives into water to produce hydrogen

August 14, 2013

(Phys.org) —Few catalysts are energy efficient, highly active, stable, and operate in water, but a nickel-based catalyst designed at the Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory quickly ...

Two for one in solar power

November 17, 2013

Solar cells offer the opportunity to harvest abundant, renewable energy. Although the highest energy light occurs in the ultraviolet and visible spectrum, most solar energy is in the infrared. There is a trade-off in harvesting ...

Recommended for you

New theory shows how strain makes for better catalysts

April 20, 2018

Brown University researchers have developed a new theory to explain why stretching or compressing metal catalysts can make them perform better. The theory, described in the journal Nature Catalysis, could open new design ...

Machine-learning software predicts behavior of bacteria

April 19, 2018

In a first for machine-learning algorithms, a new piece of software developed at Caltech can predict behavior of bacteria by reading the content of a gene. The breakthrough could have significant implications for our understanding ...

Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

April 19, 2018

UConn researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.