Researchers at the Ohio state University first synthesized a molecule that can efficiently absorb sunlight and act as a catalyst for the conversion of solar energy into hydrogen is an environmentally friendly fuel that is a viable alternative to fossil energy sources.
Molecule absorbs energy from the entire visible spectrum of sunlight, including low-energy infrared radiation that previously had to make very difficult, and quickly and efficiently converts the hydrogen from water. Moreover, the efficiency of devices based on a new connection get 50% more than standard solar cells. The findings of the study, researchers from the University published in Nature Chemistry.
“The basic idea is that we convert the photons of the Sun in hydrogen. Simply put, we take the energy from sunlight and store it in chemical compounds, so you can refer to it later. The system is capable of transferring a molecule to an excited state where it absorbs a photon and is able to store two electrons for hydrogen production. This property of molecules is unprecedented,” said study leader Claudia Turro.
For the conversion of solar energy into hydrogen was a necessary catalyst able to absorb radiation from the infrared to ultraviolet range. Previous attempts to use dvukhpolosnykh catalysts, which were exchanged electrons was not very effective, as part of the allocation of the power was lost. Monomolecular same catalysts were caught energy only ultraviolet light they quickly disintegrated.
“One of the ways of producing hydrogen, a clean alternative to gasoline and diesel, is electrolysis, i.e. splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity. However, a simpler and more efficient would be to use a photocatalysis when light itself becomes a source of energy instead of electricity. Now the problem has been resolved,” – said the scientists.
American scientists have managed to synthesize the most efficient molecules based on the element rhodium, capable of losing less power and absorb the entire sunlight spectrum. The system proved to be 25 times more efficient than dnamolecules interacting only with photons of ultraviolet radiation. To study the properties of the synthesized molecules, the researchers highlight the containing acidic solution with LEDs and found the evolution of hydrogen.
As noted by Turro, before the results of the research group can be applied in practice, there is still a lot of work. Rhodium is a rare metal, and the production of catalysts based on it expensive. Now researchers are working to improve the properties of the resulting molecules to produce hydrogen for a longer period of time, as well as the creation of the catalyst of less expensive materials.
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