University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Materials Chemistry Research Interest Group > The artificial leaf for efficient generation of solar fuels: involved elementary steps and material's design

The artificial leaf for efficient generation of solar fuels: involved elementary steps and material's design

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For an effective conversion of solar energy to a chemical fuel a number of elementary processes as well as their coupling to each other must be optimized without severe losses in the number and the chemical potential of the originally generated electron-hole pairs. Light absorption coupled to efficient charge carrier generation and separation may be realized by thin film semiconductor devices – preferentially using buried tandem or multijunction solar cells in a photoelectrochemical arrangment – which may provide broad band quantum efficiencies close to 1. Alternatively, Janus type photocatalysts may be chosen which favour vectorial electron-hole pair transport into opposite directions. Subsequently, H2 and O2 from H2O must be formed by electron and hole transfer reactions with minimized loss of chemical potential. This will only be possible if the involved charge transfer steps are coupled to selective multi electron transfer catalysts without loss in the chemical potential of the minority carriers and their photocurrent. Technologically feasible solutions seem to be possible for water splitting and H2-generation, as we will show with a number of investigations performed recently combining electrochemical investigations with surface science studies.

This talk is part of the Materials Chemistry Research Interest Group series.

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