Nav: Home

New water splitting catalyst could make it easier to generate solar fuel

January 23, 2019

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - Water splitting, the process of harvesting solar energy to generate energy-dense fuels, could be simplified thanks to new research including faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

"The key idea is to generate a solar fuel: hydrogen gas, which can be burnt to release energy on demand without releasing carbon dioxide," said Binghamton University Associate Professor of Physics Louis Piper. "For water splitting, we use visible light to generate photo-excited negative electrons and positive holes that are then separated in order to catalyze water into oxygen and hydrogen gases. Storing gases is more straightforward (and cheaper) than employing battery set-ups, so this approach has the benefit of clean energy harvesting and storage."

A research team including Piper figured out how "doping" (or adding metal ions) into vanadium pentoxide (M-V2O5) nanowires raises the highest filled energy levels for more efficient hole transfer from the quantum dots to nanowires i.e. separation of the photo-excited electrons and holes.

"If you don't dope, then there is a buildup of positive holes that corrode the quantum dots (referred to as photo-corrosion)," said Piper. "Using computation and chemical intuition, we predicted doping with Sn2+ ions would result in excellent energy alignment and efficient charge separation. We saw a ten-fold increase in the amount of solar-harvested hydrogen we obtained."

The researchers are now working with their collaborators at University of Buffalo and Texas A&M University to enhance the hydrogen gas evolution by decorating the quantum dots with platinum.

"We expect platinum to improve things by acting as a catalytic site for the electrons, but our ultimate goal is to find less costly alternatives to decorate with," said Piper.

Researchers at Diamond Light Source and Brookhaven National Laboratory also contributed to this paper.
The paper, "Hole Extraction by Design in Photocatalytic Architectures Interfacing CdSe Quantum Dots with Topochemically Stabilized Tin Vanadium Oxide," was published in Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Binghamton University

Related Quantum Dots Articles:

Towards high quality ZnO quantum dots prospective for biomedical applications
Scientists from Warsaw together with colleagues from Grenoble have moved a step closer to creating stable, high quality colloidal zinc oxide quantum dots (ZnO QDs) for use in modern technologies and nanomedicine.
Controlling the charge state of organic molecule quantum dots in a 2D nanoarray
Australian researchers have fabricated a self-assembled, carbon-based nanofilm where the charge state (ie, electronically neutral or positive) can be controlled at the level of individual molecules.
Modified quantum dots capture more energy from light and lose less to heat
Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists have synthesized magnetically-doped quantum dots that capture the kinetic energy of electrons created by ultraviolet light before it's wasted as heat.
Using quantum dots and a smartphone to find killer bacteria
A combination of off-the-shelf quantum dot nanotechnology and a smartphone camera soon could allow doctors to identify antibiotic-resistant bacteria in just 40 minutes, potentially saving patient lives.
Synthesizing single-crystalline hexagonal graphene quantum dots
A KAIST team has designed a novel strategy for synthesizing single-crystalline graphene quantum dots, which emit stable blue light.
US Naval Research Laboratory 'connects the dots' for quantum networks
Researchers at the US Naval Research Laboratory developed a novel technique that could enable new technologies that use properties of quantum physics for computing, communication and sensing, which may lead to 'neuromorphic' or brain-inspired computing.
Quantum rebar: Quantum dots enhance stability of solar-harvesting perovskite crystals
Engineering researchers have combined two emerging technologies for next-generation solar power -- and discovered that each one helps stabilize the other.
2D gold quantum dots are atomically tunable with nanotubes
Gold atoms ski along boron nitride nanotubes and stabilize in metallic monolayers.
Graphene quantum dots for single electron transistors
Scientists from the Higher School of Economics, Manchester University, the Ulsan National Institute of Science & Technology and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology have developed a novel technology, which combines the fabrication procedures of planar and vertical heterostructures in order to assemble graphene-based single-electron transistors of excellent quality.
Quantum dots can spit out clone-like photons
MIT and ETH Zurich researchers have produced coherent single photon emitters, a key component for future quantum computers and communications systems.
More Quantum Dots News and Quantum Dots Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Accessing Better Health
Essential health care is a right, not a privilege ... or is it? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can give everyone access to a healthier way of life, despite who you are or where you live. Guests include physician Raj Panjabi, former NYC health commissioner Mary Bassett, researcher Michael Hendryx, and neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#544 Prosperity Without Growth
The societies we live in are organised around growth, objects, and driving forward a constantly expanding economy as benchmarks of success and prosperity. But this growing consumption at all costs is at odds with our understanding of what our planet can support. How do we lower the environmental impact of economic activity? How do we redefine success and prosperity separate from GDP, which politicians and governments have focused on for decades? We speak with ecological economist Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey, Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Propserity, and author of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab