Artificial Leaf Project

The project goal

The final goal of this project is a proto-type for a printable membrane that when immersed in water and exposed to sunlight evolves molecular oxygen on one side and molecular hydrogen on the other (see Scheme below).

Schematic representation of the artificial leaf principle.
Schematic representation of the artificial leaf principle.

The membrane is thought to be made from organic materials. While this poses additional challenges towards stability, it opens the avenue towards simple mass production by roll-to-roll printing technologies. However, also Si and TiO2 based artificial devices are being explored. As catalysts various oxides (Co, Mn, Fe) and co-ordination complexes are investigated.

Sub-tasks of the project

  • Mechanism of water-oxidation by artificial catalysts Goal: Elucidation of the mechanism of water oxidation by artificial catalysts such as Co-oxides via structural and mechanistic studies. A major focus is on studying substrate water-binding and oxidation via time-resolved membrane inlet mass spectrometry and 18O-isotope labeling. This is combined with electrochemistry, EPR and X-ray spectroscopy. PI: Johannes Messinger Co-workers: Anurag Kawde, and Wai Ling Kwong
  • Synthesis of novel chromophores for efficient light absorption and charge separation Goal: Synthesis and characterization of novel chromophores, and coupling them to surfaces such as carbon nano materials. These constructs will form the basis for organic solar cells based on bulk heterojunctions (see below). PIs: Bertil Eliasson, Ludvig Edman, and Thomas Wågberg Co-workers: Srikanth Revoju
  • Organic solar cells Goal: Develop novel methods for the creation and stabilization of the critical nano-morphology in the active material of organic solar cells, which can be later adapted for artificial leaf devices. PIs: Ludvig Edman and Bertil Eliasson Co-workers: Jenny Enevold
  • Synthesis, characterization and functionalization of carbon nanomaterials Goal: Synthesis, functionalization of C-60 nanorods and other C-based materials with metal oxide catalysts and organic chromophores. This includes theoretical studies on the geometric and electronic structures of these constructs. PIs: Thomas Wågberg, Bertil Eliasson, Johannes Messinger, and Ludvig Edman Co-workers: Eduardo Garcia-Espino, Tiva Sharifi, Guangzhi Hu, Christian Larsen, and Robin Sandström
  • Construction and characterization of Artificial Leaf devices Goal: Development and characterization of wireless device for solar H2 and O2 production from water. Presently Si and TiO2 based devices are being developed. These serve as ideal test cases and bench marks for the final organic solar cell based devices. PIs: Jyri Pekka Mikkola, Krisztian Kordas, and Johannes Messinger Co-workers: Hasna Bourajoini, and Tung Pham Ngoc