A highly efficient nano-photocatalyst for water split

A paper just published in Nature Chem by Ian Manners group describes highly active photocatalytic nanofibers which split water. The photocatalytic hydrogen evolution reaction is driven by visible-light and offers a technologically simple approach to solar fuel production.

The nanofibers are made by a seeded growth method termed “crystallization-driven self-assembly” which enables the photosensitizer and catalyst to be placed in close proximity in the corona/shell of the polymer-based nanofibers (much closer than is possible in homogeneous solution). This approach mimics natural photocatalysis, in which protein and lipids act as scaffolds in localized photosynthetic organelles. The polymer-based nanofibers provide a platform with the potential to be generalised to numerous related photocatalytic components.

Dr. Jia Tian from the Manners group at UVic is the 1st author on the paper which describes collaborative work involving 12 scientists in 3 different countries.