Saturday, April 13, 2024

Particle Implanting Technique For Solar To Hydrogen Energy Conversion

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This particle-implanting technique, inspired by nature’s photosynthesis process, paves the way for the scalable and efficient production of photoactive film. 

A research team led by Prof. Liu Gang from the Institute of Metal Research (IMR) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has introduced a revolutionary particle-implanting (PiP) technique for the scalable production of robust and efficient photoactive films. Inspired by the natural photosynthesis process in plant leaves, this approach involves embedding photoactive semiconductors in liquid metal films. The research showcases the potential of this method in solar-driven photocatalytic or photoelectrochemical water splitting, an essential process in direct solar-to-hydrogen energy conversion.

The newly developed film mimics the functionality of a living leaf by converting solar energy directly into chemical fuel. When subjected to simulated sunlight irradiation, the film’s photocatalytic activity for water splitting to produce hydrogen is 2.9 times higher than that of traditional cinema. Furthermore, the liquid metal-embraced photoactive semiconductor films exhibit remarkable stability and scalability. They maintain their activity during long-term continuous operation (over 100 hours), retain more than 95% of their efficiency even after 105 bending cycles, and sustain about 70% of their activity when scaled up to 64 cm².

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The film’s superior performance is attributed to the three-dimensional semiconductor/metal strong interaction, which ensures efficient collection of photogenerated charges, robust architectural stability, and enhanced photoactivity. Additionally, the film offers universality and recyclability, as a wide range of low-melting-point metals (LMP) and semiconductors can be used and easily recycled through ultrasonication in hot water.

Overall, the LMP metal-based PiP technique presents a promising avenue for solar energy conversion devices and applications, aligning with the carbon-neutral initiative and advancing the practical implementation of solar-to-hydrogen energy conversion.

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