Project 5. Solar energy-driven robust multi-electron-transfer catalysts for water splitting
Nannan Han, Ye Yang
Achieving sustainable and environmentally benign sources of energy, in particular fuels, is of great importance. The sunlight-driven splitting of water (H2O + hv H2 + ½ O2) is very attractive in context with solar fuels because water is abundant and inexpensive. This joint project (collaborated with Drs Craig L. Hill and Djamaladdin G. Musaev) focuses on the preparation and characterization of nanostructured dyads and triads for photodriven water oxidation.
In general, a triad electrode is a multicomponent molecular and nano-sized assembly of a photosensitizer (Ru dyes), an electron acceptor (TiO2 or other semiconductor metal oxide) and a water oxidation catalyst (WOC). In order to improve the oxidative and hydrolytic stability of the light-driven water splitting devices, we design light-driven water splitting devices that utilize inorganic photosensitizes along with our inorganic WOC, using narrow band gap oxide nanocrystalline thin films, such as α-Fe2O3 and WO3 as photoanodes. The performance of such dyad and triad electrodes can be evaluated by connecting them to an external circuit, such that the photoinjected electrons are immediately removed from the anode to reduce H2O to H2 at the cathode.
For our group, we focus on characterizations of these electrodes by various static and time-resolved spectroscopic and photoelectrochemical techniques.Other research interests include, carbon dioxide and water reduction, plasmonic water photoelectrolysis, photophysics of metal-to-metal-charge-transfer chromophores, etc