Important Progress in Mimicking Nature Photosynthesis for Photoelectrocatalytic Water Splitting
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    Important Progress in Mimicking Nature Photosynthesis for Photoelectrocatalytic Water Splitting

  • Recently, Prof. Can Li, the president of School of Chemistry and Materials Science, in University of Science and Technology of China, has made important progress in constructing a highly efficient artificial photosynthesis system by mimicking natural photosynthesis. The success of the biomimetic strategy opens up new ways for the rational design and assembly of highly efficient artificial photosynthesis systems for solar to fuel conversion. This work has been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (2018, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b10662) and invited as the cover paper.

      In this work, the researchers assemble a photoelectrocatalytic system by mimicking the functions of photosystem II (PSII), with BiVO4 semiconductor as a light-harvester protected by a layered double hydroxide (NiFeLDH) as a hole storage layer (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2014, 53, 7295; Energy Environ. Sci., 2016, 9, 1327.), a partially oxidized graphene (pGO) as biomimetic tyrosine for charge transfer, and molecular Co cubane as oxygen evolution complex. The integrated system exhibits an unprecedentedly low onset potential (0.17 V) and a high photocurrent (4.45 mA cm-2), with a 2.0% solar to hydrogen efficiency. Spectroscopic studies reveal that this PEC system exhibits superiority in charge separation and transfer, benefiting from mimicking the key functions of PSII. In previous work, the research group reported a hybrid system composed of semiconductors and molecular catalysts for photocatalysis (J. Catal., 2016, 338, 168, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2016, 138, 10726). This work paves the way for photoelectrocatalytic water splitting.

      This work was financially supported by 973 National Basic Research Program of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemistry for Energy Materials (iChEM). The coauthors of the paper are Dr. Sheng Ye and research assistant Chunmei Ding.


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