CORDIS - EU research results

Crystal phase engineering of Au nanoparticles for enhanced solar fuel generation

Project description

High-efficiency catalyst could improve solar fuel generation

Producing fuel from sunlight, carbon dioxide and water could help satisfy the growing energy demands worldwide and point to a more sustainable future. Photocatalysts decorated with noble metal nanoparticles as catalysts have widely been investigated for their ability to speed up the generation of chemical fuels from water and carbon dioxide. However, it is currently unknown how the crystal phase of the noble metal nanoparticles affects the photocatalytic activity. The EU-funded C[Au]PSULE project will combine various experimental techniques to examine the relationship between the crystal phase of gold nanoparticles and the photocatalytic activity of gold–perovskite photocatalyst composites. It also plans to introduce non-standard crystal phases to improve catalyst efficiency.


Artificial photocatalysis that converts CO2 into carbon fuels or produces clean energy such as H2 or NH3 from water and N2 using solar energy is an effective strategy to effectively reduce the carbon footprint and to develop a low carbon emission economy and sustainable energy in the future. Noble metal decorated photocatalysts have widely been investigated for improving the photocatalytic performance, however the effect of noble metal crystal phases on the photocatalytic performance is still an unexplored field. This project aims at exploiting the reduced coordination of surface metal atoms in non-standard crystal phases of metallic gold (Au) to create more effective photocatalysts. Specifically, the relationship between the Au crystal phase and the photoactivity of Au-perovskite composites will be systematically investigated by combining various advanced characterization techniques. Additionally, for achieving highly efficient Au-perovskite photocatalysts the modification of non-standard crystal phase Au by constructing crystal-phase-heterostructure and alloying with atom-thick metal shell and the optimization of charge migration pathways in the composites will be performed. Using single molecule fluorescence microscopy, the photocatalytic reaction pathways and the dynamics process over Au-perovskite photocatalysts will be elucidated.


Net EU contribution
€ 166 320,00
3000 Leuven

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Vlaams Gewest Prov. Vlaams-Brabant Arr. Leuven
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 166 320,00