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Jillian Dempsey and Alex Miller

Jillian Dempsey and Alex Miller

Tue, Apr. 19, 2022, 4:30pm
Taylor Auditorium, Frick Chemistry Laboratory
Host: Paul Chirik

BioLec Symposium: The Frontiers of Photocatalysis


Jillian L. Dempsey, Dempsey Group Website

Impact of Microenvironment on Solar Fuel Production mediated by Molecular Catalysts

Using solar photons to drive energy intensive reactions that take energy poor feedstocks like water and carbon dioxide into energy rich fuels represents an opportunity to capture and store diffuse solar energy. Molecular catalysts can selectively mediate the multi-electron, multi-proton transformations that convert water and carbon dioxide into energy rich fuels. Integrating these molecular catalysts with photon-absorbing semiconductor materials places the catalyst in a unique microenvironment that can have profound impact on the selectivity, activity, and durability of the catalyst. Probing reaction mechanisms of catalysts in solution and anchored to a (photo)electrode surface provides critical insight to the role of the microenvironment in the generation of liquid solar fuels and is showing us how the microenvironment properties can be leveraged to optimize hybrid photoelectrode performance.


Alex Miller, Miller Group Website

Mechanism-guided Development of Molecular Catalysts for Solar Fuels

The utilization of solar energy to drive fuel-forming chemical reactions has attracted widespread interest in the context of alternative energy technologies. Most systems feature multiple components working together to harvest light, separate charge, and mediate bond-forming chemical reactions. An alternative approach will be introduced, in which a single molecule acts as both the light harvester and the fuel-forming catalyst. Thermodynamic and kinetic studies of metal hydride photochemistry provide a foundation for understanding how to couple light-driven H2 evolution and hydrogen transfer reactions with electrochemical regeneration to achieve efficient and selective solar fuels reactions.