Friday 26 March 2010

Artificial Inorganic Leaf: Hydrogen Production Plant

Artificial Inorganic Leafs for Efficient Photochemical Hydrogen Production Inspired by Natural Photosynthesis

Han Zhou 1, Xufan Li 1, Tongxiang Fan 1 *, Frank E. Osterloh 2, Jian Ding 1, Erwin M. Sabio 2, Di Zhang 1 *, Qixin Guo 3
1State Key Laboratory of Metal Matrix Composites Shanghai Jiaotong University Shanghai 200240 (China)
2Department of Chemistry University of California Davis, 1 Shields Ave, Davis, California 95616 (USA)
3Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering Saga University Saga 840-8502 (Japan)
Submitted 18th June 2009 revised 21 June 2009

Artificial leaf • Hierarchical structures • Light harvesting • Photocatalytic hydrogen production • Photosynthesis

Artificial inorganic leafs are developed by organizing light harvesting, photoinduced charge separation, and catalysis modules (Pt/N-TiO2) into leaf-shaped hierarchical structures using natural leaves as biotemplates (see figure). The enhanced light-harvesting and photocatalytic water-splitting activities stem from the reproduction of the leafs' complex structures and self-doping of nitrogen during synthesis. The research may represent an important first step toward the design of novel artificial solar-energy transduction systems based on natural concepts, particularly on mimicking the structural design.

Turns out that nature has a way of evolving very efficient and complex processes into simple configurations. By copying nature this team hopes to be able to use light to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

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