Two-pronged Approach towards Optimizing Charge Transfer and Transport for Light Energy Conversion
Jin Zhang a
a UC Santa Cruz, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, 95064, United States
Invited Speaker, Jin Zhang, presentation 004
Publication date: 31st March 2013

Nanostructured metal oxides (MO) such as TiO2, WO3, Fe2O3, and ZnO are promising for light energy harvesting into electricity or chemical fuel such as hydrogen.  Due to their large bandgap and thereby weak visible absorption, various strategies have been developed to enhance visible light absorption, including dye or quantum dot (QD) sensitization.  In the meantime, charge transport in nanostructures is often limited due to a high density of trap states.  We have found out recently that rational introduction of bandgap states, e.g. oxygen vacancies through hydrogen or other treatment of metal oxide nnaostructures, can substantially improve charge transport.  Therefore, by using a two-pronged approach that combines QD sensitization for efficient charge transfer and chemical treatment of MO for enhancing charge transport, one can achieve synergistic enhancement in photoelectrochemical performance.  Systematic characterizations using a variety of techniques including photoelectrochemistry, electron microscopy, ultrafast laser, ESR, and XPS were carried out to gain insight into the underlying fundamental mechanism.  The approach is general and can be potentially useful for many different applications that require strong light absorption and efficient charge transport.

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