TSUKUBA, Japan, Mar. 18, 2022 /Kyodo JBN/ --
International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (WPI-MANA), National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS)
Since joining the International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (WPI-MANA) in 2007, Dr. Jinhua Ye has focused on research and development of photo-functional materials and their applications in the fields of environment preservation and new energy production. In addition to her position at WPI-MANA, she is an adjunct professor of Hokkaido University, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Dr. Ye is a highly cited researcher, having published over 600 papers in high-quality research journals, which have been cited more than 50,000 times.
Q: Thank you for meeting with us today. To start with, could you give us a rundown of your current research?
“Basically, I am studying photo-functional materials and their applications in the fields of environment preservation and new energy production. I’m developing catalysts for converting CO2 into hydrocarbons, using sunlight to power the reactions. For this I am focusing on finding materials to act as catalysts for the reactions, and broadening our understanding of how to make these reactions more efficient and selective.
It’s a three-step process. First we ask, ‘How can we absorb more light?’ In particular visible light and infrared, not just UV. To do that, we need to tune the band gap of the material. If it’s too wide, it will only absorb a small part of the UV light. But if it’s too narrow, the generated electron hole reduction activity or oxidation activity will be limited. So we need to find some kind of compromise.
And then also, if it is to help the reaction, we need the reduction energy of this conduction band to be more negative than some reaction. On the other hand, we also need to adjust the valence band position. So we think about all these things, and then we can have a guideline for what kind of electronic structure or element is better, or what kind of crystallinity or conductivity it should have...”
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