Navigation Links
Harnessing the energy of the Sun: New technique improves artificial photosynthesis
Date:5/10/2011

This discovery will make it possible to improve photoelectrochemical cells. In the same way that plants use photosynthesis to transform sunlight into energy, these cells use sunlight to drive chemical reactions that ultimately produce hydrogen from water. The process involves using a light-sensitive semi-conducting material such as cuprous oxide to provide the current needed to fuel the reaction. Although it is not expensive, the oxide is unstable if exposed to light in water. Research by

Adriana Paracchino and Elijah Thimsen, published May 8, 2011 in the journal Nature Materials, demonstrates that this problem can be overcome by covering the semiconductor with a thin film of atoms using the atomic layer deposition (ALD) technique.

Under the supervision of Professor Michael Grtzel in EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces, the two scientists achieved this remarkable feat by combining techniques used at the industrial scale, and then applying them to the problem of producing hydrogen. With their process, cuprous oxide can be simply and effectively protected from contact with water, making it possible to use it as a semiconductor. The advantages are numerous: cuprous oxide is abundantly available and inexpensive; the protective layer is completely impermeable, regardless of the roughness of the surface; and the process can easily be scaled up for industrial fabrication.

A promising technique

The research team developed the technique by "growing" layers of zinc oxide and titanium oxide, one atom-thick layer at a time, on the cuprous oxide surface. By using the ALD technique, they were able to control the thickness of the protective layer down to the precision of a single atom over the entire surface. This level of precision guarantees the stability of the semiconductor while preserving all of its hydrogen-producing efficiency. The next step in the research will be to improve the electrical properties of the protective layer.

Using widely available materials and techniques that can be easily scaled up brings the "green" photoelectrochemical production of hydrogen closer to the industrial interest.


'/>"/>

Contact: Adriana Paracchino
adriana.paracchino@epfl.ch
Ecole Polytechnique Fdrale de Lausanne
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Harnessing the divas of the nanoworld
2. The photon force is with us: Harnessing light to drive nanomachines
3. Story tips from the Department of Energys Oak Ridge National Laboratory
4. LSU-AgCenter and Aquatic Energy Recommended for Clean Technology Grant
5. Measurement of hot electrons could have solar energy payoff
6. Equinox Summit: Energy 2030 -- inspiring ingenuity in energy solutions
7. Plasma nanoscience needed for green energy revolution
8. Story tips from the Department of Energys Oak Ridge National Laboratory: April 2011
9. Honeywells Envergent Technologies Selected by Malaysian Company for Renewable Energy Project
10. VG Energy Report is Featured on EnergyBoom.com
11. New frozen smoke may improve robotic surgery, energy storage
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/4/2016)... Feb. 4, 2016 ContraVir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... development and commercialization of targeted antiviral therapies, announced today ... Conference 2016, to be held February 8-9, 2016, at ... 2016 Disruptive Growth & Healthcare Conference, taking place in ... 2016. James Sapirstein , Chief Executive Officer ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... , Feb. 4, 2016 Sinovac Biotech Ltd. ... leading provider of biopharmaceutical products in China ... its board of directors received on February 4, 2016 ... from a consortium comprised of PKU V-Ming ( ... Co., Ltd., CICC Qianhai Development ( Shenzhen ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... Strasbourg, France , to the US ... Strasbourg, France , to the US company Advanced Bioscience ... announce that it acted as an advisor to Transgene on ... Strasbourg, France , to the US company Advanced Bioscience ... Transgene (Euronext: TNG), a member of Institut Mérieux, is ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... SAN DIEGO , Feb. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... medicine company with the first pluripotent stem cell-derived ... 1 diabetes in clinical-stage development, today announced that ... Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, have ... BetaLogics group into ViaCyte.  The agreement provides ViaCyte ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:1/20/2016)... 20, 2016 A market that just keeps ... from the explosion in genomics knowledge. Learn all about ... A range of dynamic trends are pushing market growth ... medicine - pharmacogenomics - pathogen evolution - next generation ... - greater understanding of the role of genetic material ...
(Date:1/15/2016)... SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico , Jan. 15, 2016 ... forcing companies big and small to find new ways ... data driven culture. iOS and ... their device based on biometrics, transforming it into a ... can request that users swipe their fingerprint on their ...
(Date:1/11/2016)... -- higi, the leading retail and omni-channel community engagement platform ... mobile, today announced it has closed funding of ... --> --> The ... health platform – its network of health stations, ... services and programs to retail partners and healthcare ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):