Scientists Find New Way Solar Energy Change

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Although still in the experimental stage, but this is a very promising discovery to convert sunlight into energy using a process based on metals that are more powerful than the use of many conventional semiconductors on a previous method. The new method was first developed by scientists from the Department of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials UC Santa Barbara. 

Martin Moskovitz, a chemistry professor at UCSB said that this is a radical alternative to date and has the potential to be first implemented in the semiconductor-based solar conversion devices to be developed in 70 years or more. In this conventional process, the technologies developed and used over the last few centuries, the sunlight hit the surface of the semiconductor material where one side is rich in electrons, while others do not. Photons, or commonly referred to as particles of light causes electrons to leave their positions so as to produce positively charged holes. The result is a stream of charged particles that can be captured and transmitted for various purposes, including turning on lights, charge the battery, or facilitate chemical reactions. 

Moskovitz gives examples such as electrons can cause the hydrogen ions in the water that will be converted to hydrogen, fuel, while the holes produce oxygen. In the technology developed by Moskovitz and his team, is not semiconducting material supplied by the electrons and to transform solar energy, but nanostructured metals, specifically can be regarded as the gold nanorods. 

Of gold nanorods are closed with a layer of titanium dioxide crystals are adorned with platinum nanoparticles. Meanwhile, a cobalt-based oxidation catalyst cobalt deposited on the bottom of the stack. Moskovitz added that when the nanostructures were exposed to light of a certain metal, conduction electron from the metal can cause collective insulated and absorb a lot of light. 

The heat of the electrons in the wave plasmonik also very interested in the particles of light. Crystal filters through layers of titanium dioxide and particles captured by platinum, it causes a reaction that splits hydrogen ions from the bonds that form water. Meanwhile, the hole left by the head of the electrons react to berbasi cobalt catalysts are on the bottom and form oxygen. 

He also said that the device has been operated for weeks and there are no signs of failure. Although it is quite early, but they have gained enough efficiency honorable and the most important thing is to create a strategy to improve the efficiency of the radical. The study also assisted by postdoctoral scientist Syed Mubeen and Joun Lee who is a graduate student Nirala Singh. Unisex engineer Stephan Kraemer and chemistry professor Galen Stucky.


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