Stabilization of Semiconductor/Liquid Interfaces and Operando Spectroscopy

Professor Shu Hu
Seminar Date: 
Friday, April 28, 2017 - 8:30am
Prospect Street
New Haven, CT

An artificial photosynthetic device, or called artificial leaf, mimics nature’s photosynthesis, takes sunlight and splits water into H2 and O2. Once abundant and low-cost solar fuels of H2 is produced as a universal energy carrier, we can use it to convert synthetic fuels, upgrade bio-fuel feedstock, improve combustion and produce ammonia.  However, achieving such an efficient and flexible artificial leaf is not trivial, particularly due to the instability of efficient semiconductor/liquid interfaces: All technologically important semiconductors so far like Si and GaAs photocorrode. Although protective coatings are not prevalent in solid-state materials research, they are essential in the field of (photo-)electrochemistry.  

In this talk, I will first discuss recent breakthroughs in protective coatings as a stabilization strategy. With protective coating strategies, a 10% efficient water-splitting artificial leaf has been demonstrated.  With modeling-inspired materials design, I will show a viable pathway beyond 20% efficiencies.  Finally, I will discuss needs for basic understanding of photocatalytic processes at solid/liquid interfaces, particularly using operando spectroscopy. Understanding the change-transfer rates and selectivity of solid/liquid interfaces promise cost-effective particle-based photocatalyst devices. We call them artificial chloroplast as the next-generation artificial leaf. 

Seminar Announcement Brochure: 

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