Gold nanoparticles coated with a semiconductor can produce hydrogen from water at least four times more effectively than other methods, according to a new study by team members from Rutgers University in New Jersey.
The discovery could lead to better solar energy storage, increasing renewable energy use and combating climate change.
To excite the electrons in the gold nanoparticles, the researchers utilized visible and infrared light, instead of ultraviolet light, which is the customary method.
When electrons are excited, they can be transferred more effectively into the semiconductor, which accelerates the reaction.
Engineers coated the gold nanoparticles in titanium dioxide and then exposed the material to UV, visible and infrared light. Then, they studied how the electrons jumped from gold to the material.
By leveraging photocatalysis, which uses light to accelerate a chemical reaction, the engineers may have expanded the ways in which we can use sunlight for energy.
Source: Science Alert