LDRD Seminar Series: ‘Plastic Artificial Leaves’
Senior Scientist and Professor of Chemistry Lin X. Chen (CSE) will discuss her Laboratory-Directed Research and Development (LDRD) sponsored work at the LDRD Seminar Series presentation Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017.
“Plastic Artificial Leaves” begins at 12:30 p.m. in the Bldg. 203 Auditorium. All are welcome to attend.
The main challenge in using sunlight as an energy source is coupling single photon absorption events with the multiple electron/hole redox reactions for water splitting (e.g. 2H2O → 2H2 + O2). In this project, we combine our knowledge on photophysics of conjugated polymers that have been used in organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices and on photoinduced electron transfer in artificial photosynthesis in search of building a platform for photocatalytic water splitting, particularly in hydrogen generation. We wish to integrate a single, organic photovoltaic p-n junction and water-splitting catalytic transition metal center into a bilayer organic “artificial leaf.” This idea is based on exciton splitting into holes and electrons at the interface of a single p-n junction composed of p-and n-type conjugated polymer layers. These photo-generated charged carriers will be shuttled to the oxidative and reductive catalytic metal sites that are ligated by bipyridyl (bpy) sites incorporated into the polymer backbones. An artificial leaf can be formed when the water oxidation and reduction catalytic reactions proceed simultaneously as the device absorbs sunlight.
The scope of the project includes three aspects:
- metallopolymer design and synthesis,
- physical characterization of excited state properties and structures; and
- testing of photoinduced hydrogen generation in different conditions using different materials and prototype devices.
During her 27 plus years at Argonne, Lin Chen has carried out and directed multiple projects in fundamental processes in solar energy conversion. In particular, her research is focused on fundamental aspects of light-matter interactions at the electron/atom levels, correlating molecular/material structural dynamics on multiple temporal and spatial scales to functions of light energy conversion to electricity and fuels. Her contribution in carrying out pioneering research in ultrafast time-resolved structural studies using combined pulsed laser and X-rays has been recognized widely in the field.
She is a founding member of Argonne Northwestern Solar Energy Research (ANSER) Center, one of the DOE Energy Frontier Research Centers, where she co-leads a team for solar electricity research which focused on organic inorganic and hybrid materials for photovoltaic applications. Since 2014, she has led a research team involving four institutions to investigate effects of ultrafast coherent movements of electrons and atoms in photochemical processes such as light induced energy and electron transfer.
Since 2007, Chen has a joint appointment as a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry, Northwestern University where she has trained several Ph.D. students and postdoctoral researchers and expands her research interests to structural dynamics in biological systems.
She received her B.Sc. from Peking University and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. After her postdoctoral research at the University of California at Berkeley, she joined Argonne as a staff scientist. Chen is an AAAS Fellow since 2012 and won a distinguished performance award at Argonne in 2002. She is also a senior editor for the ACS Energy Letters. Visit her group website for additional information.