The main focus of our research group is the design and development of multi-functional nanostructured materials for catalytic applications, particularly for solar energy conversion. Our key strategy is the precise and meticulous control of structure, morphology, topology and composition of materials at a nanoscale through top–down and bottom-up approaches, particularly using soft and hard templating methods. Fundamental target reactions include electrochemical water oxidation, solar water splitting, and glycerol oxidation. We are also interested in plasmonic catalysis and design of nanostructured perovskites for solar energy conversion to electrical and chemical energy through water splitting.
Around 80 per cent of world’s current energy consumption is based on non-renewable fossil fuels. Due to the consumption of unsustainable energy source, new and feasible alternatives must be uncovered. Among the plethora of potential substitutes for fossil fuels, solar energy has gained the most consideration as it is the only renewable energy source with the potential to provide enormous amounts of energy required by the demands of an increasing population and expanding world economy. Solar energy can be transformed directly to electrical or chemical energy by using a photovoltaic or photochemical cell, respectively. The production and efficiency of photovoltaic solar cells that harvest high value electrical energy directly from sunlight are gradually amplifying, and will surely have an impact when a plausible system eventually enters into the global energy portfolio. Furthermore, novel approaches should also be explored to convert solar energy directly into storable fuels. The photo-electrolysis of water with sunlight produces clean H2 and is therefore a favourable method for reaching this goal. Ongoing projects of our research effort focuses on the design of diverse semiconductor materials and nanocrystals as co-catalysts for overall water-splitting to produce hydrogen.
Mono-dispersed nanocrystals with reduced dimensions exhibit novel chemical, electrical, optical, and magnetic properties not seen in their bulk counterparts and have therefore tantalized and attracted increasing research interest over the past decade for both their fundamental and technological importance. Shape-controlled nanocrystals possess well-defined surfaces and morphologies due to a high degree of control of their nucleation and growth at the atomic level. We are currently investigating various shape controlled systems for water splitting and selective catalytic reduction of nitrogen oxides.
Ordered mesoporous materials are very intriguing and have a diverse range of applications due to their high surface area, large pore volume and controllable morphology, particle and pore size. The aim here is to design and develop ordered mesoporous polymers with various functional groups and new binary metal oxides for separation and catalytic purposes by using soft templating and nanocasting routes.
Dr. Chen, Kun
Dr. Tüysüz, Harun