Towards Solar Factories: Highly Efficient Photocatalytic H2 Generation and Organic Transformations
Amedeo Agosti a, Yifat Nakibli b, Lilac Amirav b, Giacomo Bergamini a
a Department of Chemistry ''G. Ciamician'', University of Bologna, Italy, Via Francesco Selmi, 2, Bologna, Italy
b Schulich Faculty of Chemistry, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
nanoGe Fall Meeting
Proceedings of nanoGe Fall Meeting19 (NGFM19)
#SolFuel19. Solar Fuel Synthesis: From Bio-inspired Catalysis to Devices
Berlin, Germany, 2019 November 3rd - 8th
Organizers: Roel van de Krol and Erwin Reisner
Oral, Amedeo Agosti, presentation 292
Publication date: 16th July 2019

The framework of photocatalytic solar-to-chemical energy conversion is mapped by an exploding investigation space, aiming at rapid elevation of the technology to commercially relevant performances and processing conditions. Prospective materials and alternative oxidative pathways are revolutionizing water-splitting into decoupled hydrogen and high-value added chemicals production. Yet, pioneering solar refinery systems have been limited to either efficient, but isolated half-reactions or sluggish simultaneous red-ox transformations, hampering the forthcoming adoption of this promising solar-harvesting strategy. Here, we exploit fluorescence quenching spectroscopy as a rigorous figure-of-merit, which bridges between optoelectronic material properties and photocatalytic activity towards extensive chemical utilisation of solar energy. 

Implementing this approach on hybrid nanorod photocatalysts (CdSe@CdS-Pt), we demonstrate hydrogen production with photon to hydrogen quantum efficiencies of up to ~70% (or 3.6% solar to hydrogen), under visible light and mild conditions, while simultaneously oxidizing electron-donor moieties (with different functional groups) into valuable products. Facile spectrophotometric analyses further show robust photo-chemical and colloidal stability, as well as product selectivity when converting molecules carrying amino- and alcohol-groups. As such, rigorous spectroscopic assessment and in-operando characterisation ensue superior photocatalytic performance, realizing a truly photo-catalytic reaction and establishing nanostructured metal-chalcogenide semiconductors as state-of-the-art artificial photo-chemical devices.

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