Si Nanowires as Photoelectrodes for Highly Specific Carbon Dioxide Fixation Reactions
Guangbi Yuan a, Kian Tan a, Carrie Stephani a, Rui Liu a, Dunwei Wang a
a Boston College, Department of Chemistry, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA, 2467, United States
Invited Speaker, Dunwei Wang, presentation 020
Publication date: 31st March 2013


Natural photosynthesis harvests the energy in visible light to power chemical reactions and uses CO2 as the carbon source.  Because light as an energy source is free and abundant, chemical reactions similar to photosynthesis have major fundamental and practical implications.  Indeed, significant efforts have been attracted to this research goal.  The majority of attention for photochemical reactions that transform CO2 have focused primarily on conversion into fuels.  How to learn from photosynthesis and devise reaction routes for the synthesis of useful organic compounds receives relatively underwhelmed considerations.  Drawing inspiration from the mechanisms found in dark reactions of photosynthesis and using p-type Si nanowires as a photocathode, we proposed and demonstrated that highly specific reactions can be readily carried out to produce a-hydroxy acids by photoreduction of aromatic ketones, followed by CO2 fixation.  Powered by visible light, this reaction is in close resemblance to natural photosynthesis, and different from its electrochemical analogues.  The carboxylation products of two of the substrates examined in this talk serve as precursors to nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAID), ibuprofen and naproxen.  Our detailed studies of the photoelectrochemical properties of Si nanowires will be presented as well.

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