NANOTECHNOLOGY PROCESSES FOR SOLAR ENERGY CONVERSION AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
The research is focused on photoactive materials (molecular and nanostructured), the investigation of nanotechnology driven photo-induced processes and their application to the direct conversion of solar energy into electricity as well as to environmental protection and health safety, including:
- Third Generation Photovoltaics [Perovskite Solar Cells (PSCs); Dye-sensitized Solar Cells (DSCs); Quantum Dot Solar Cells (QDSCs)]
- Photocatalytic water cleaning and CO2 conversion/storage
- Activity 2
Photocatalysis Advanced oxidation and reduction processes (AOPs-ARPs) driven by photoinduced heterogeneous reactions that take place on the semiconductor surface are investigated. Special emphasis in given to the growth of innovative nanostructured titania photocatalysts and their application in the re-establishment of the environment (water, air) and the protection of health. Efficiency of the photocatalytic activity is improved via: a) control of the photocatalytic materials properties in the nano-scale level, b) increase of the photocatalyst effective surface area c) efficient separation of the photoinduced electron and hole carriers d) shift of the photocatalytic response in the visible by metal and non-metal doping and heterostructuring e) judicious balance of the photocatalytic and superhydrophilic properties in films which inherent self-cleaning functionality and f) immobilization of the nanocatalyst powders in complex photocatalytic films with controlled morphology (nanoparticulate, nanotubular) and increased chemical and mechanic stability. This research also includes the development of advanced antipollution technology (AAT) and its application in the photochemical decomposition of harmful organics of emerging concern in water. Thus, we develop innovative composite photocatalytic nanomaterials with parallel design, optimization, modeling and scale up of photocatalytic membrane reactors for water treatment as well as photocatalytic self-cleaning materials/coatings for the construction sector. Innovative titania nanomaterials and devices are also employed for CO2 conversion (photoinduced reduction path) to useful chemicals (e.g. hydrocarbons). In parallel, carbon functionalization is performed and nanotechnology based modified electrodes and spectro-/electro- chemical sensors are developed for direct monitoring of harmful pollutants in water.