462713 Flame Synthesis of Highly Transparent and Robust Nano-Layers for Enhanced Photo-Electrochemical Water Splitting

Tuesday, November 15, 2016: 3:34 PM
Golden Gate 8 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Antonio Tricoli, Nanotechnology Research Laboratory, Research School of Engineering, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

Direct chemical storage of solar energy is an attractive concept for off-the-grid renewable power generation. Currently the poor transparency of the thick low-cost catalyst layers required for water oxidation hinders the large-scale fabrication of efficient photo-electrochemical cells for artificial photosynthesis and hydrogen production. Flame synthesis of tailored nanoparticles and direct aerosol deposition is a scalable technology for the production of ultra-porous layers of photo-catalysts and optoelectronic devices1. Nevertheless the fragility2 of this gas-phase self-assembly has limited their application in liquid environments with most studies requiring the in-situ high temperature annealing of the depositing particle to obtain sufficient mechanical stability 3. This results in a drastic drop of the layer porosity and hinders the fabrication of optimal architecture for electrochemical systems.

Here, we report the engineering of robust high performance photo-electrodes with tunable porosity and composition. We discuss the critical parameters controlling the self-assembly of these nanoparticle layers and present a flexible approach for their mechanical and chemical stabilization. We apply this concept to the fabrication of photo- and electrochemical cells for water splitting demonstrating very high turn-over frequencies, controllable light absorption and efficient electron collection. We envision that this scalable synthesis approach can be readily implemented for the commercial production of low-cost devices for chemical energy storage and renewable fuel production.


1. Nasiri, N.; Bo, R.; Wang, F.; Fu, L.; Tricoli, A. Adv. Mater. 2015,27, (29), 4336-4343.

2. Tricoli, A.; Graf, M.; Mayer, F.; Kühne, S.; Hierlemann, A.; Pratsinis, S. E. Adv. Mater. 2008,20, (16), 3005-3010.

3. Tricoli, A.; Wallerand, A. S.; Righettoni, M. J. Mater. Chem. 2012, 22, (28), 14254-14261.

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