An excellent storage vehicle for solar energy is in the chemical bonds of energy-dense molecules. A system that would split water into H2 and O2 using solar light would allow energy harvested by the sun to be released later through the carbon-free combustion of H2. One option for the conversion of sunlight to solar fuels is an aqueous colloidal suspension of quantum dots (QDs) as the light harvester and catalysts that will produce H2. This technology is underdeveloped and the active QD-catalyst interaction poorly understood. My research goal is to further the field of photocatalytic proton reduction through the study of the QD-catalyst interface. This involves studying the type of interaction the catalyst and QD share and how this effects the overall rate of proton reduction in an effort to improve the efficiency of these systems.
Advisor: Brandi Cossairt