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Bismuth-based materials for Photocatalysis, Photovoltaics and Supercapacitors

Image: Professor Neil Robertson
Professor Neil Robertson

Date: 5 August 2019   Time: 14:00 - 15:00

We are delighted to welcome to our next MRI Seminar Professor Neil Robertson from the School of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh. All are welcome to attend.

Abstract: Demand for efficient, economic, and eco-friendly electrical energy conversion and storage has grown dramatically in recent years, including solar energy for large-scale power generation and energy storage for electronic appliances, electric vehicles, and a smart and sustainable energy grid. In addition, solar energy is also proposed as a clean energy source for photocatalysis in several different contexts. Materials chemistry plays a key role in development of these applications and increasingly the emphasis is placed on low-cost, non-toxic and earth abundant materials. In this context, we have recently focused on bismuth-based materials which can fulfil these demands and show promise in several technology areas. The talk will give an overview of our work in three inter-related areas as follows:
(i) Contamination of drinking water is increasingly problematic and photocatalysis has received much attention in recent years as a potential method for removing highly-toxic organic and bacterial contaminants. Many challenges remain however, in developing systems suitable for practical, real-world use. We have applied simple solution-based approaches to create immobilised, composite photocatalyst films providing visible light harvesting and enhanced charge separation. These have been successfully tested in the lab and in rural India for water treatment.
(ii) Fully-printable mesoscopic perovskite solar cells have attracted considerable attention during the last few years. Although this has led to devices able to achieve high efficiency and stability, replacement of lead in the absorber layer of the device is highly desirable to open up a full range of application possibilities. We have developed hybrid organic-inorganic bismuth materials able to function as photovoltaic absorbers, although further progress is required towards practical efficiencies.
(iii) Electrical double layer capacitors (EDLCs) featuring low-cost and solution-processable electrode materials have attracted significant research interest for their green and economical applications. Bi2O3 and Bi2S3 have already proven promising in photocatalytic water purification, thermoelectric systems, supercapacitors, and electrochemical sensors, however their fabrication typically requires high annealing temperatures and laborious, multistep procedures, complicating research efforts and economic viability. We have developed low-temperature, solution-processed materials capable of showing high supercapacitor performance.

Location:  GO Jones 610, Mile End Campus, Queen Mary University of London
Contact:  Dr Petra Ágota Szilágyi
Telephone:  020 7882 7948
Email:  P.Szilagyi@qmul.ac.uk