Dr. Christopher Bohn.
Dr. Christopher Bohn.

Join us for a special seminar presented by Dr. Christopher Bohn, PhD., Postdoctoral Research Associate, Energy Research Group, Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The lecture will take place on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014, from 1-1:45pm in MEB 2109.

“Efficient Solar Water Splitting with α-Fe2-O3 Photoanodes”

The sun provides energy at over 10,000× the rate of current global consumption. Yet solar intermittency remains a key challenge for market penetration and highlights the need for renewable storage solutions. One of the most promising storage strategies is photoelectrochemical water splitting, or artificial photosynthesis, wherein the incident solar energy is stored in the chemical bonds of hydrogen and oxygen, facilitated by metal oxide absorbers and catalysts. Iron oxide (α-Fe2O3) is a particularly attractive material for water splitting owing to its geological abundance, stability in alkaline electrolytes, and ≈2 eV bandgap, which theoretically permits it to exceed the DOE target of 15 % solar to hydrogen efficiency. I present two strategies for improving the performance of iron oxide photoanodes. Using a combination of experimental results based on nanostructured gold films fabricated with a focused ion beam and theoretical results based on Maxwell’s equations, I demonstrate that SPP-mediated absorption enhancement is not viable for α-Fe2O3 owing to its large real permittivity and small imaginary permittivity, but holds promise for other photovoltaic materials. Finally, I outline a number of exciting future directions for generating solar fuels through artificial photosynthesis with inexpensive metal oxides.
Short Biography:
Christopher Bohn is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Energy Research Group of the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. He received his B.S.E. degree with honors in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology from the University of Cambridge, England. His doctoral work, supported by a Gates Cambridge Scholarship, focused on the synthesis and characterization of iron-based materials for use in carbon dioxide capture and hydrogen production. His