Artificial conversion of sunlight to chemical fuels has attracted attention for several decades as a potential source of clean, renewable energy. We recently found that CdSe quantum dots (QDs) and simple aqueous Ni2+ salts in the presence of a sacrificial electron donor form a highly efficient, active, and robust system for photochemical reduction of protons to molecular hydrogen. Ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopy studies of electron transfer (ET) processes from the QDs to the Ni catalysts reveal extremely fast ET, and provide a fundamental explanation for the exceptional photocatalytic H2 activity. Additionally, by studying H2 production of the Ni catalyst with CdSe/CdS nanoparticles of various structures, it was determined that surface charge density plays an important role in charge transfer and ultimately H2 production activity.
Nicole M. B. Cogan, Cunming Liu, Fen Qiu, Rebeckah Burke, and Todd D. Krauss, "Ultrafast dynamics of colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals relevant to solar fuels production," Proc. SPIE 10193, Ultrafast Bandgap Photonics II, 101930B (Presented at SPIE Defense + Security: April 10, 2017; Published: 22 May 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2262168.
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