Solar fuels research at LPI

Solar energy is the ultimate energy source for our human beings. In nature, the solar flux is absorbed by plants and stored in chemical bonds. Mimicking nature, artificial photosynthesis is the process of solar-to-chemical/fuel conversion. This becomes the research focus of the solar fuel group in LPI. The major two approaches are photoelectrochemical conversion and electrocatalysis.

Building on our expertise of semiconductor science and device fabrication, we are interested in developing earth-abundant-materials-based photoelectrodes. With the optimized interfaces, we target for stable and efficient water splitting. Electrocatalysis, driven by solar electricity, is another option of generating fuels and chemicals. Apart from water splitting, we are interested in designing novel electrocatalysts and fabricating devices for selective and stable COreduction to CO, C2Hand other liquid fuels. OperandoRaman and operandoX-ray absorption spectroscopy are the state-of-the-art tools that we used for gaining mechanistic insights into the electrode/electrolyte interface.

K. Nonomura (LSPM), J. Luo, S. Zakeeruddin, N. Vlachopoulos (LSPM), A. Hagfeldt (LSPM), Qixing Zhang, M. Grätzel, J. Gao, D. Ren, B. Dong, L. Pan

Selected publications

J Luo, JH Im, MT Mayer, M Schreier, et al. Science, 2014

We demonstrated standalone water splitting exceeding 12% solar-to-hydrogen by combining two perovskite photovoltaic cells with two identical bifunctional and earth-abundant catalysts based on Ni-Fe hydroxides.

Tilley, Schreier, Azevedo, et al. Advanced Functional Materials, 2014

A new benchmark for stable, high-performance Cu2O photocathodes was achieved by employing electrodeposited RuOx.

 J Azevedo, L Steier, P Dias, M Stefik, M Graetzel, SD Tilley, et al. Energy & Environmental Science, 2014

A simple hydrothermal treatment enables a highly stable copper oxide-based photocathode for H2 production.

P. Cendula, S.D. Tilley, et al. J. Phys. Chem. C 2014
A physical model is presented for the semiconductor electrode of a photoelectrochemical cell. Our model calculations are suitable to enhance understanding and improve the properties of semiconductors for photoelectrochemical water splitting.

M. Schreier, P. Gao, M.T. Mayer, J. Luo, T. Moehl, M.K. Nazeeruddin, S.D. Tilley, M. Gratzel

Photoelectrochemical reduction of CO2 to CO was driven by a TiO2-protected Cu2O photocathode paired with a rhenium bipyridyl catalyst.

   L. Steier, et al.

Fe2O3 photoanodes combined with underlayers and overerlayers of different oxides produce enhanced performance, and the nature of these enhancements was studied in detail using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy.

M Schreier, J Luo, P Gao, T Moehl, MT Mayer, M Graetzel. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016
The immobilization of rhenium-containing CO2 reduction catalysts on the surface of a protected Cu2O-based photocathode enabled a photofunctional unit combining the advantages of molecular catalysts with inorganic photoabsorbers.