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Solar watersplitting method to provide clean energy

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The Hans India
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pResearchers from Rice University have demonstrated an efficient new way to capture the energy from sunlight and convert it into clean renewable energy by splitting water moleculesp

pThe technology relies on a configuration of lightactivated gold nanoparticles that harvest sunlight and transfer solar energy to highly excited electrons which scientists sometimes refer to as quothot electronsquotp

pquotHot electrons have the potential to drive very useful chemical reactions but they decay very rapidly and people have struggled to harness their energyquot said lead researcher Isabell Thomann assistant professor at Rice Universityp

pFor example most of the energy losses in today39s best photovoltaic solar panels are the result of hot electrons that cool within a few trillionths of a second and release their energy as wasted heatp

pCapturing these highenergy electrons before they cool could allow solarenergy providers to significantly increase their solartoelectric powerconversion efficiencies and meet the goal of reducing the cost of solar electricityp

pIn the lightactivated nanoparticles light is captured and converted into plasmons waves of electrons that flow like a fluid across the metal surface of the nanoparticlesp

pPlasmons are highenergy states that are shortlived but researchers have found ways to capture plasmonic energy and convert it into useful heat or lightp

pPlasmonic nanoparticles also offer one of the most promising means of harnessing the power of quothot electronsquotp

pquotUtilising hot electron solar watersplitting technologies were on par with considerably more complicated structures that also use more expensive componentsquot Thomann saidp

pquotWe are confident that we can optimise our system to significantly improve upon the results we have already seenquot he addedp

pThe findings were described in the American Chemical Society journal Nano Lettersp

Author: Sustainability Outlook
Calais Document Category: Technology Renewable Energy