My objective is to understand kinetic bottlenecks that limit efficiency in metal-free photocatalysts for solar energy conversion. Hydrogen production via metal-based solar water splitting is relatively well understood. However, the photophysics of metal-free photocatalysts as a lower-cost alternative is dramatically underexplored, particularly for heptazine-based carbon nitride. To pinpoint the origin of efficiency losses, I will monitor photochemical kinetics using femtosecond transient absorption. Meanwhile, since we are targeting panchromatic response for hydrogen production, I will also explore other unique metal-free upconversion sensitizers such as thiosquaraine, synthesized in the Schlenker Group.
Advisor: Cody Schlenker