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In the Focus

Opportunities and Challenges of Research on Photocatalyst Materials

May 19, 2017 Latest

On May 17th 2017, member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and researcher at Nanjing University's Kunshan Innovation Research Institute Professor Zou Zhigang was invited for the 116th lecture at SUSTech, to talk on the theme of "photocatalytic material research opportunities and challenges". Fellow Chinese Academy of Sciences member and Chair of the Department of Physics Professor Yu Dapeng presided over the lecture.

On the site of the lecture

Zou Zhigang is a visiting professor from Kunshan Innovation Research Institute of Nanjing University. He is also a visiting professor at Hokkaido University in Japan, and was chief scientist of the 973 project of "high-quality photocatalytic materials and energy and environment application" in China's materials field. Other important positions he has held are Chinese representative of the project and guest researcher of the National Institute of Materials (NIMS). He has long been engaged in the design, preparation and reaction mechanisms and application of photocatalytic materials. He has made systematic and original achievements in the design theory, core preparation and application of the new generation of photocatalytic materials with high efficiency and visible light response.

Zou Zhigang lecturing

During the lecture, Zou Zhigang introduced the current photocatalytic material and photocatalytic reaction mechanism. Due to the low conversion rate of solar energy, photocatalytic materials are not widely used. Today, China's energy structure is facing a huge adjustment to achieve sustainable development and must develop new clean renewable energy. Photocatalytic materials are offering major opportunities and challenges in this field which is why it is of particular interest. He went on to describe the current situation of photocatalytic materials research: solar energy conversion and the use of the main four ways, namely, light and heat conversion, photobiological utilization, photoelectric conversion and photochemical conversion. His work focuses on the conversion of solar energy with low energy density into chemical energy with high energy density, which also brings about two potential solutions to energy and environmental problems: photocatalytic decomposition of aquatic hydrogen, and photocatalytic reduction of CO2 preparation of carbon-based materials.

He continued on the world's high hopes for photocatalytic technology, explaining the importance of their study, with the development of visible light response photocatalytic material being one of the most important ways to achieve efficient solar energy conversion. He asked important questions, such as how can the bandgap of photocatalytic material match the visible light energy? How can the band position of the photocatalytic material match the reactant electrode potential? How to reduce the photogenerated electron-hole recombination rate and improve the quantum conversion efficiency? These difficulties are the highest priority in the field and need to be resolved.

Q & A session

The lecture ended with a Questions and Answers session, during which Zou Zhigang carefully answered the audience's questions, and encouraged the students to do more in-depth research and exploration.


Contributed by: Student News Agency Tang Jie

Photos by: Student news agency Dong line

Edited by: Jeremy Welburn

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