RaviVaidyanathanAll are welcome to an invited seminar by Professor Vaidyanathan (Ravi) Subramanian – JSPS Fellow, Associate Professor of Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno, Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Utah. The title is: “Engineering Eco-friendly Photocatalysts: Their Multifunctional Applications.” The seminar will be from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday April 8, 2015 in WEB 2250. There will be light refreshments afterwards.

Abstract: Engineering Eco-friendly Photocatalysts: Their Multifunctional Applications The importance of engineering rationally designed photocatalysts with high performance efficiency for critical applications such as energy conversion and environmental remediation, cannot be overlooked. To this end, one of the core visions of the SOLAR laboratory is to design, assemble, and evaluate new formulations of photoactive materials across different application platforms.

In this presentation, I will discuss about a case study using bismuth and titanium as the building block elements to design bismuth titanate photocatalysts (BTO) that exist in the sillenite and pyrochlore phases. The synthesis strategies involve using low-cost wet chemical techniques for the assembly of both of these phases. I will present the importance of using a modeling-driven approach to strategically identify the elements that can be included in the pyrochlore matrix for improving photoactivity. Further, based on modeling predictions, the synthesis of Mn- and Fe- modified BTO pyrochlore phases that demonstrates improved optical properties, will be presented.

From an application standpoint, the use of these photocatalysts are demonstrated across three platforms: 1) photovoltaics (solarelectricity), 2) green-house gas control & conversion (CO2  formic acid), and 3) photocatalytic clean fuel production (H2OH2). It will be shown that the successful performance of the photocatalysts in the three areas underscore the importance of considering these families of multi-metal oxides for the aforementioned as well as other applications.

From a vision standpoint, this work lays the foundation for designing potentially disruptive photoactive formulations not only in the pyrochlore or sillenite phase but also in other phases such as delafossite, spinels, and scheelites. It is very likely that one of these formulations can find applications in high temperature catalysis such as solid oxide fuel cells and sensing. These possibilities drive our continued effort. I will conclude my presentation with our vision in this direction.

Biography: Prof. Subramanian started his professional career as an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering in the Chemical and Materials Science Department of University of Nevada, Reno. He received his tenure and promotion in July 2012 and is currently Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and an adjunct in the Chemistry Department. He is also the Solar Energy thrust area coordinator in the Renewable Energy Center at the University. Prof. Subramanian holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame, Masters from University Institute of Chemical Technology, India, and Bachelors from the Laxminarayan Institute of Technology, India. His area of research focus is on nanostructured materials for solar energy utilization and fuel cells. He has expertise in the synthesis, characterization, and application of photoactive materials and its composites with carbon – based materials such as nanotubes and graphene. His primary interest is in the development of materials for photovoltaics, fuel cells, clean fuel production, and environmental remediation. In his 14 years of research he has developed inorganic materials including semiconductor-semiconductor and semiconductor-metal nanocomposites for applications related to solar energy utilization and fuel cells. He has received several awards as a student (AIChE Poster Award, Catalysis Club Award, and Best Thesis Award) and as a faculty (Japanese Society for Promotion of Science Fellowship).