In Honor of Nobel Laureate Prof. Ferid Murad

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Abstract Submission

Luis Echegoyen

American Chemical Society

Higher Efficiency Solar Cells And Hydrogen Gas Production From Water Splitting Using Carbon-based Compounds And Materials
Summit Plenary

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The efficiency of solar cells is a major actual issue that will ultimately decide on the reliable and continuous daily use of this alternative CO2-free electricity production. One way to increase this efficiency is the employ of carbon-based chemical compounds and materials that are relatively inexpensive and very effective as selective Electron Transporting Layers (ETLs) in solar cells. Among these carbon-based components we have studied the so-called regular fullerenes, which are pure-carbon cages that are excellent electron acceptors and 3D transporters. We have functionalized fullerenes with Pyridine in order to modulate and probe their specific interfacial interactions in perovskite solar cells to understand the details and to enhance the cell performance efficiencies. Results clearly showed that the pyridine-functionalized compounds act as efficient electron extractors at the interface but are not good electron transporters as a bulk phase.
Production of hydrogen gas by splitting water is a vert promising potential way of producing hydrogen that is a clean reductant that will probably replace carbon as such in industrial processes. Here again carbon-based chemical compounds are very good candidates especially help es endohedral fullerenes, which are carbon cages which encapsulate ions and/or atoms and clusters inside, stabilized by electronic interactions with the cages. These nano-sized compounds were recently shown to act as reasonably efficient non-precious metal-containing molecular catalysts to effect the Hydrogen Evolution Reaction (HER), or water splitting, to produce hydrogen gas. We initiated this work and are currently exploring the fundamental aspects of the HER with other endohedral fullerene compounds, both to understand the details and to increase their efficiencies.