Plants convert sunlight to energy through a well understood process known as photosynthesis. Researchers have been studing how to use this process to make energy that can be used not by plants but by mankind. Is it possible that this natural process could eventually be harnessed to allow us to move completely away from fossil fuels?
We need such a break through that will give is a clean energy source that can replace liquid fuels such as oil and gasoline as well as gasesous fuels such as propane and natural gas.
This talk will discuss the research frontier involved with the development of an integrated system based on semiconductor nanowires that act as artificial photosynthetic pigments, which bridge a membrane and are coupled to catalysts that both reduce water to hydrogen and oxidize water to oxygen.
How To Make Clean Hydrogen Fuel Artificially.
All these components in an artificial photosynthetic system must work together and in synergy for the entire process to be successful. Our research efforts have focused primarily on the development and implementation of semiconductor nanorod arrays that can provide the ability to use impure, low-cost, stable inorganic light absorbers in the presence of organic, plastic, processable polymer membranes, to provide the capture and conversion steps and couple to the catalytic steps needed for a solar-based water-splitting system.
About the Professor.
Dr. Nathan Lewis, George L. Argyros Professor of Chemistry, has been on the faculty at the California Institute of Technology since 1988 and has served as Professor since 1991. He has also served as the Principal Investigator of the Beckman Institute Molecular Materials Resource Center at Caltech since 1992.
From 1981 to 1986, he was on the faculty at Stanford, as an assistant professor from 1981 to 1985 and as a tenured Associate Professor from 1986 to 1988. Dr. Lewis received his Ph.D in Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Lewis has been an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, and a Presidential Young Investigator.
He received the Fresenius Award in 1990, the ACS Award in Pure Chemistry in 1991, the Orton Memorial Lecture award in 2003, the Princeton Environmental Award in 2003 and the Michael Faraday Medal of the Royal Society of Electrochemistry in 2008. He is currently the Editor-in- Chief of Energy & Environmental Science. He has published over 300 papers and has supervised approximately 60 graduate students and postdoctoral associates.
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