Gordana Dukovic, PhD
Nanocrystalline oxynitrides with tunable composition and band gap
University of Colorado Boulder
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Discovery and implementation of renewable sources of energy is one of the most urgent and challenging problems of our time. Practical methods to store solar energy in the form of fuels could revolutionize the renewable energy landscape. This poster will describe our recent progress in a project funded by a 2013 Beckman Young Investigator Award aimed at investigation of new materials with suitable properties for solar fuel generation. We have developed a method to synthesize Zn-Ga oxynitride nanocrystals that exhibit both the visible light absorption needed for solar energy harvesting and photoelectrochemical water-oxidation activity. The poster will focus on three areas of progress: (1) a proposed mechanism of formation of oxynitride nanocrystals, (2) efforts to elucidate the excited state behavior of these materials using ultrafast laser spectroscopy, and (3) efforts to characterize the atomic-level structure and composition of the nanocrystals using electron microscopy. Future directions aimed at understanding the origin of the visible absorption in these materials will also be highlighted.