Plasmon Induced Photoelectrochemistry for artificial photosynthesis

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9550-10-C-0073
Agency Tracking Number: F09B-T39-0310
Amount: $99,999.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2009
Solicitation Topic Code: AF09-BT39
Solicitation Number: 2009.B
Small Business Information
825 S. Myrtle Ave., Monrovia, CA, 91016
DUNS: 195754056
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Ravi Verma
 Senior Scientist
 (626) 471-9700
Business Contact
 Kevin Dinniene
Title: Director
Phone: (626) 471-9778
Research Institution
 California Institute of Technology
 David Boyd
 1200 E California Blvd
Pasadena, CA, 91106
 (626) 695-4123
 Nonprofit college or university
The Air Force has a strategic need for a fuel source that is renewable (and which does not rely on foreign petroleum sources). Several approaches to a renewable fuel source have been investigated; with “artificial photosynthesis” being one example. At its core, the photosynthesis reaction is a photoinduced charge separation reaction with light being concentrated by antenna complexes onto a catalyst with molecular resonance; and most artificial photosynthesis systems are derived from this approach. However, this approach suffers from a generic problem in that catalysts with molecular resonances tend to degrade rapidly when exposed to light. Tanner Research and Caltech are proposing to leverage recent developments in plasmon-induced photoelectrochemistry catalysis to develop a low cost artificial photosynthesis system that can generate charge separation as the first step, and which uses that charge buildup to generate fuel as the second step. In Phase I, we will demonstrate a low cost artificial photosynthesis system with incident photon to converted electron (IPCE) efficiency of 20%. In Phase II, we will demonstrate a complete system that generates fuel with 10% efficiency. BENEFIT: Renewable fuel sources will significantly improve the strategic security of the USAF.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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