Developing Nanostructures for Energy and Biomedical Applications
Abstract: With unique physical and chemical properties, and high potential for many important applications, nanomaterials have attracted extensive attention in the past two decades. In particular, due to their unique, size- and shape-tunable surface plasmon resonance, plasmonic nanostructures have recently been explored for enhancing the efficiency of solar cells and photocatalysis via improved light scattering, strong near field effect and/or hot electron injection. Herein, I will present some of our recent development in plasmonic nanostructures and their applications in solar cells and photocatalysis [1-2]. One example is about the design and synthesis of a new class of materials: plasmonic Au nanoparticle decorated upconverting- NaYF4:Yb3+, Er3+, Tm3+ -core@porous-TiO2-shell microspheres with uniform size distribution, high surface area and excellent stability and reusability. The structure was rationally designed in such a way to simultaneously maximize the beneficial effects of plasmonics and upconversion towards largely enhanced broadband photocatalysis. As a consequence, the nanohybrid catalysts developed herein exhibit broadband absorption from UV up to near infrared (NIR) and excellent photocatalytic activity, significantly better than the benchmark TiO2 (Degussa P25). Different mechanisms were found to dominate under separate UV, visible and NIR excitations and critical factors were identified. Optical and energy-transfer properties were further modeled theoretically to support our interpretations of the catalytic mechanisms. In addition to yielding novel and interesting materials and properties, the current work also provides physical insights that can contribute to the future development of plasmon-enhanced broadband catalysts. I will also present some of our recent work on NIR quantum dots (QDs), transition metal (or metal oxide) nanohybrids and their application in solar cells, catalysis and biomedical sectors [3-5].
1. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2013, 135, 9616.
2. Adv. Funct. Mater, 2015, 25, 2950 (Front Cover)
3. Adv. Funct. Mater. 2015, 25, 6650
4. Adv. Funct. Mater., 2012, 22, 3914 (Highlighted by MaterialsViews)
5. Adv. Mater., 2012, 24, 6289 (Frontispiece Cover)
All seminars are held on Wednesdays from 12:00 noon-1:00 p.m. in the Bowen Hall Auditorium Room 222. A light lunch is provided at 11:30 a.m. in the Bowen Hall Atrium immediately prior to the seminar.