Semiconductor Nanowires for Solar Energy Conversion: Nano Seminar Series

Semiconductor Nanowires for Solar Energy Conversion: Nano Seminar Series

Seminar | October 29 | 2-3 p.m. | 390 Hearst Memorial Mining Bldg.

Prof. Peidong Yang, UC Berkeley, Chemistry Department

Berkeley Nanosciences and Nanoengineering Institute

Direct solar energy conversion to storable fuels offers a promising route toward less reliance on fossil fuels.

Photoelectrolysis of water to generate H2 on a semiconductor/electrolyte interface has the attractive advantages of clean processing and energy savings over steam reforming of natural gas. One of the most critical issues in solar water splitting is the development of a suitable photoanode with high efficiency and long-term durability in an aqueous environment.

Semiconductor nanowires represent an important class of nanostructure building block for photovoltaics as well as direct solar-to-fuel application because of their high surface area, tunable bandgap and efficient charge transport and collection. Semiconductor nanowires can be readily designed and synthesized to deterministically incorporate heterojunctions with improved light absorption, charge separation and vectorial transport.

Meanwhile, it is also possible to selectively decorate different oxidation or reduction catalysts onto specific segments of the nanowires to mimic the compartmentalized reactions in Nature. In this talk, I will highlight several recent examples in this lab using semiconductor nanowires and their heterostructures for the purpose of solar energy harvesting.