Titanium Oxides for Photocatalyzed Water Splitting
University of Maryland, College Park
Chemistry and Biochemistry
For this project, I have explored novel materials as candidates for green energy applications. In particular, hollandite-type minerals can accommodate transition metals, which are the active ingredients for catalyzing the splitting of water. Hollandites are metal oxides that crystallize with a particular structure and have chemical formulas such as KTi8O16. At the atomic scale, hollandites take on a tunnel shape, which allows water molecules to enter the structure and maximizes the contact between water and hollandite to increase the yield of the reaction. A variety of experiments may be performed to modify the surfaces of these materials, as well as to optimize their electronic and optical properties. Then, the hollandite may be used to catalyze the splitting of liquid water, or H2O, into hydrogen gas and oxygen gas using sunlight. Current techniques for hydrogen production require burning fossil fuels. Hence, hollandites provide an environmentally friendly alternative for evolving hydrogen gas, which can be stored and used for energy, by solely requiring an input of natural light energy from the sun.