Special Energy Seminar: Gary Moore, Berkeley National Lab

January 29, 2014 - 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Dr. Gary F. Moore

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Molecular and Nanoscale Approaches to Solar Energy Transduction



Solar energy offers a desirable approach to fulfilling global human energy demands with minimal environmental impact provided efficient, low-cost systems can be developed for its capture, conversion and storage.1-2 In biology, enzymes catalyze a myriad of technologically relevant chemical reactions by providing discrete three-dimensional environments for binding substrate, releasing product, and lowering transition-state energies along a reaction coordinate. Thus, in accordance with the Sabatier principle, they can have exceptionally high activities and, perhaps more importantly, selectivity for specific chemical transformations.


A method for facile connection of biomimetic fuel production catalysts to semiconductor photocathodes will be presented.3-4 Successful attachment is characterized by grazing angle attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (GATR-FTIR) as well as X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and X-ray absorption near edge structure spectroscopy (XANES). Photoelectrochemical experiments analyzing the energetics and efficiency of these constructs will also be discussed.5 These results give insights to designing improved photocathodes with additional performance gains and illustrate the potential to directly couple human-engineered catalysts for fuel production with light capture and conversion materials. This approach could allow catalysts made from earth-abundant elements to replace the use of precious metals currently implemented in many solar-fuel generator prototypes as well as other technologies capable of reducing net carbon dioxide emissions.


Lynch Lecture Hall

Department of Chemistry

231 S. 34 Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6323

215.898.8317 voice | 215.573.2112 fax | web@chem.upenn.edu