The solar-driven photocatalytic splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen is a potential source of clean and renewable fuels. However, four decades of global research have proven this multi-step reaction to be highly challenging. The design of effective artificial photo-catalytic systems will depend on our ability to correlate the photocatalyst structure, composition, and morphology with its activity.
The group’s research is concerned with unique design of innovative nano scale particles, which harness nano phenomena for improved activity, and methodologies for the construction of sophisticated heterostructures tailored for photocatalysis and energy conversion. The laboratory’s cutting-edge synthetic effort is combined with fundamental research focused on the dynamic and mechanism of photo-induced charge transfer processes, across the different components of the photocatalyst system and further into the solution.
Figure caption: Illustration of a nanoscale photocatalyst composed of a CdSe quantum dot (green) embedded in a CdS nano-rod (yellow) with a platinum particle on its opposite tip (purple). This system set a record for the photocatalytic water splitting reduction half reaction with a perfect, 100%, photon to hydrogen conversion efficiency.
Lilac Amirav received a Bachelor’s degree (B.Sc.) from Tel Aviv University at the age of 18. She received numerous awards for her PhD dissertation from Technion, and the prestigious Rothschild and ‘Sara Lee Schupf’ postdoctoral fellowships. After her postdoctoral research with Prof. Paul Alivisatos at the University of California, Berkeley, Amirav joined the Schulich Faculty of Chemistry at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology as an Assistant Professor. She is affiliated with the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute (RBNI), and the Grand Technion Energy Program (GTEP), and a member of the I-CORE “Israel Solar Fuels Consortium” center of excellence in renewable and sustainable energy.
- L. Amirav and A. Paul Alivisatos, “Photocatalytic Hydrogen Production with Tunable Nanorod Heterostructures”, J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2010, 1, 1051-1054.
- Prashant K. Jain†, Lilac Amirav† (equal contribution), Shaul Aloni, A. Paul Alivisatos; “Nanoheterostrucure Cation Exchange: Anionic Framework Conservation”, JACS, 2010, 132 (29), 9997-9999.
- Lilac Amirav and A. Paul Alivisatos; “Luminescence Studies of Individual Quantum Dot Photocatalysts”, JACS, 2013. 135, 13049-13053.
- Lilac Amirav, Fadakemi Oba, Shaul Aloni and A. Paul Alivisatos; “Modular Synthesis of a Dual Metal – Dual Semiconductor Nano Heterostructure”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, 24, 7007-7011.
- Philip Kalisman, Yaron Kauffmann and Lilac Amirav*; “Photochemical Oxidation on Nanorod Photocatalysts”. J. Mat. Chem. A. 2015, 3 (7), 3261-3265.
- Yifat Nakibli, Philip Kalisman, and Lilac Amirav*; “Less Is More: The Case of Metal Co-Catalyst” J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2015, 6, 2265−2268.
- Philip Kalisman, Lothar Houben, Eran Aronovitch, Yaron Kauffmann, Maya Bar-Sadan and Lilac Amirav*; “The Golden Gate to Photocatalytic Hydrogen Production”. J. Mat. Chem. A. 2015, 3, 19679-19682.
- Philip Kalisman, Yifat Nakibli and Lilac Amirav*; “Perfect Photon-to-Hydrogen Conversion Efficiency”. Nano Letters, 2016, 16 (3), 1776-1781.
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