Inorganic nanostructures for photocatalytic water splitting
Frank Osterloh a
a University of California, Davis, Department of Chemistry - One Shields Ave, Davis, 95616, United States
Invited Speaker, Frank Osterloh, presentation 007
Publication date: 16th April 2014
Photocatalytic water splitting with colloidal suspensions is conceptually the simplest and most inexpensive pathway to hydrogen fuel from solar energy. Nanoscaling is widely considered to improve the efficiency of catalysts, but as a detailed analysis shows, nanostructures also have considerable disadvantages. Using recent examples from this laboratory, this talk discusses the effects of nanostructuring on carrier generation, separation, and recombination, as well as the possibility of controlling nanostructure energetics and reactivity with potential determining ions and quantum size effects. In addition, the talk introduces surface photovoltage spectroscopy as a sensitive technique to probe photocatalytic processes in nanomaterials. Charge injection between nanoparticles can be observed, as well as oxidation and reduction of methanol and oxygen. The photovoltage also depends on the illumination intensity, time, film thickness, and substrate material. The ability to monitor these potential-generating processes with SPV is cruicial to the development of inorganic nanocrystals for uses in photoelectrochemical cells, photovoltaics, and as photocatalysts.

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