Water Splitting

Placing the catalyst where it's needed

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Science  19 Feb 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6275, pp. 828-829
DOI: 10.1126/science.351.6275.828-f

Splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen is a potentially useful means of storing the energy in sunlight. The key is to develop cost-effective devices that harvest the light and then accelerate the chemistry. Sambur et al. used super-resolution imaging techniques to delve deep into the workings of a titanium dioxide–based sample device, in order to develop an optimization framework. By studying individual nanorods, they pin-pointed the most chemically active sites, as well as those that most effectively harnessed the potential supplied by the light. This allowed them to deposit a catalyst at the sites most in need of a boost for making oxygen from the water.

Nature 10.1038/nature16534 (2016).

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