EPN builds “nanoreactors,” that is, very small reactors around 100,000 times smaller than a grain of rice. The foundation of each nanoreactor is a light absorbing semiconductor, a material that can absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity. This light absorber is then surrounded by a coating that acts as a guard, only allowing the proper chemicals to pass through. To complete these nanoreactors, they are combined with catalysts, the chemicals that actually facilitate hydrogen generation. One chemical process builds billions upon billions of these nanoreactors, which added together, produces commercially viable hydrogen from water. Written by Olivia Bird, EPN Graduate Student
To achieve these goals, EPN is developing powerful new and synergistic experimental and theoretical capabilities in nanomaterials synthesis, multiphysics modeling, and coupled correlative microscopies and spectroscopies. Results across a multitude of length and time scales teach physicochemical principles that dictate the behavior of ensembles of nanoreactors. This information serves as inputs to inverse design analyses, whose outputs guide optimization through a codesign feedback loop for bottom-up synthesis of multicomponent interphase coatings.
(i) Use operando correlative multimodal microscopies to reveal charge separation mechanisms and (ii) Determine the influence of discrete photoinduced events on steady-state water splitting reactivity
(i) Understand in atomistic detail the function of encapsulated molecular reaction centers and (ii) Codesign spatially distinct interphases for species-specific permeabilities and stabilities at low flux
(i) Experimentally validate interparticle interactions mediated by light and matter and (ii) Program desired physicochemical properties, guided by simulations bridging microenvironments
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