Nanotechnology for Catalysis and Solar Energy Conversion

U. Banin, N. Waiskopf, L. Hammarström, G. Boschloo, M. Freitag, E. M.J. Johansson, J. Sá, H. Tian, M. B. Johnston, L. M. Herz, R. L. Milot, M. G. Kanatzidis, W. Ke, I. Spanopoulos, K. L. Kohlstedt, G. C. Schatz, N. Lewis, T. Meyer, A. J. Nozik, M. C. BeardF. Armstrong, C. F. Megarity, C. A. Schmuttenmaer, V. S. Batista, G. W. Brudvig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus Citations


This roadmap on Nanotechnology for Catalysis and Solar Energy Conversion focuses on the application of nanotechnology in addressing the current challenges of energy conversion: ‘high efficiency, stability, safety, and the potential for low-cost/scalable manufacturing’ to quote from the contributed article by Nathan Lewis. This roadmap focuses on solar-to-fuel conversion, solar water splitting, solar photovoltaics and bio-catalysis. It includes dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs), perovskite solar cells, and organic photovoltaics. Smart engineering of colloidal quantum materials and nanostructured electrodes will improve solar-to-fuel conversion efficiency, as described in the articles by Waiskopf and Banin and Meyer. Semiconductor nanoparticles will also improve solar energy conversion efficiency, as discussed by Boschloo et al in their article on DSSCs. Perovskite solar cells have advanced rapidly in recent years, including new ideas on 2D and 3D hybrid halide perovskites, as described by Spanopoulos et al ‘Next generation’ solar cells using multiple exciton generation (MEG) from hot carriers, described in the article by Nozik and Beard, could lead to remarkable improvement in photovoltaic efficiency by using quantization effects in semiconductor nanostructures (quantum dots, wires or wells). These challenges will not be met without simultaneous improvement in nanoscale characterization methods. Terahertz spectroscopy, discussed in the article by Milot et al is one example of a method that is overcoming the difficulties associated with nanoscale materials characterization by avoiding electrical contacts to nanoparticles, allowing characterization during device operation, and enabling characterization of a single nanoparticle. Besides experimental advances, computational science is also meeting the challenges of nanomaterials synthesis. The article by Kohlstedt and Schatz discusses the computational frameworks being used to predict structure–property relationships in materials and devices, including machine learning methods, with an emphasis on organic photovoltaics. The contribution by Megarity and Armstrong presents the ‘electrochemical leaf’ for improvements in electrochemistry and beyond. In addition, biohybrid approaches can take advantage of efficient and specific enzyme catalysts. These articles present the nanoscience and technology at the forefront of renewable energy development that will have significant benefits to society.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberArticle No. 042003
Number of pages28
Issue number4
StatePublished - 5 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd Printed in the UK

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-79328


  • Biocatalysis
  • Multiple exciton generation
  • Photocatalysis
  • Renewables
  • Solar cells
  • Solar energy conversion
  • Water splitting


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