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May 16th seminar

par Hervé Henry - publié le , mis à jour le

Thursday may 16th at 11am in PMC room

From solar cells to solar fuels : can we use photovoltaic materials as photo-electrodes ?

The use of photovoltaic materials as photoelectrodes allows the capture of a large part of the visible solar spectrum, which can potentially lead to a higher efficiency conversion of solar to fuels. Solar cells work with visible light and have a much higher quantum efficiency compared to conventional semiconductors. Most absorbers used for photovoltaics, in view of their excellent light absorption and tunable band gaps, are excellent candidate as photoelectrodes. Moreover, in photovoltaics, the charge carrier separation mechanism is often based on pn junctions, which increases the photocurrent by an order of magnitude compared to a bare photo-absorbing electrode. In PEC systems, another critical point is the kinetic requirement for multiple electron and proton transfers, resulting in high energy barriers for some products, requiring efficient catalysts for high current densities and high selectivity for the target product.

This presentation first describes the similarities and differences between solar cells and solar fuel systems. Then, through some examples, we will show how photovoltaic materials can be used for solar fuel production.