Using time-resolved experiments at the Advanced Light Source (ALS), researchers found a way to count electrons moving back and forth across a model interface for photoelectrochemical cells.
SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT
The findings provide real-time, nanoscale insight into the efficiency of nanomaterial catalysts that help turn sunlight and water into fuel through artificial photosynthesis.
Solar-fuel tech goes for gold
In the search for clean-energy alternatives to fossil fuels, one promising solution relies on photoelectrochemical (PEC) cells: water-splitting, artificial-photosynthesis devices that turn sunlight and water into solar fuels such as hydrogen. In just a decade, researchers have achieved great progress in the development of PEC systems made of light-absorbing gold nanoparticles (NPs) attached to a semiconductor film of titanium dioxide (TiO2).
Read more on the Advanced Light Source website
Image: Laser pulses were used to excite electrons in gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) on a titanium dioxide (TiO2) substrate. X-ray pulses were used to count the electrons moving between the nanoparticles and the substrate. (Credit: Oliver Gessner/Berkeley Lab)