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Research Center for Photovoltaics

 

Advanced Functional Materials Team ( AFMT )

 

Objective

  1. Development of artificial photosynthesis technologies using photoelectrode and photocatalyst.
  2. Design of materials based on computational chemistry for efficient dye-sensitized solar cell.
  3. Development of fundamental technologies to utilize solar energy efficiently.

Strategy

 Solar energy is the most enormous among all renewable energies, and the development of new technology having high efficiency, low cost and energy accumulation is very important because of the unsettled and dilute energy density of solar light.  Dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC) and artificial photosynthesis using photoelectrode and photocatalyst work with similar reaction mechanisms in Fig.1, based on the photo-electrochemical reaction in solution. We developed new materials with high solar energy conversion efficiency by means of common knowledge and technologies. DSSC is one of the next generation low-cost PVs by using the low-cost materials (such as TiO2) and low-cost fabrication process (such as printing) without vacuum facility and clean room. The artificial photosynthesis is the technologies to convert solar energy into chemical energy directly, and water splitting reaction and production of valuable chemicals take place using semiconductor photoelectrode and powdered photocatalyst prepared by simple methods.

Research Activities

We have developed new ruthenium complexes sensitizers for DSSC based on computational chemistry. Recently, we found that various valuable chemicals (hydrogen peroxide, hypochlorous acid, persulfate etc.) could be produced on oxide photoelectrodes with producing H2 on the counter electrode, as shown in Fig.2. Moreover, we have developed highly efficient photocatalysts for artificial photosynthesis reaction with redox mediators and low-cost H2 production combined with electrolysis, as shown in Fig.3.  




Figure.1  Principles of (a) DSSC, (b) photoelectrode and (c) photocatalyst.

 

Figure. 2  Production of H2 and valuable chemicals using photoelectode.

Figure.3  Economical H2 production on photocatalysis-electrolysis hybrid system with redox mediator.


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