Abstract: Analyzing Dye-Sensitized and Plasmon Enhanced Photocatalysis Using Single Molecule Spectroscopy

For my upcoming research project in the summer, I plan on investigating dye-sensitized and plasmon-enhanced photocatalysis using single molecule spectroscopy techniques. The global energy demand is predicted to increase over 25% by year 2040. Solar energy is a clean alternative to harmful fossil fuels, and one method of harnessing this energy is via dye sensitized photocatalysis (DSP) systems. Although currently inefficient, we plan on studying underlying kinetics to further improve the practicality of these systems. This is done via single molecule spectroscopy (SMS) techniques that allow for us to truly understand the photophysics behind DSP systems. In our DSP system, we will be studying Eosin-Y chromophore on a TiO2 substrate under both air and N2 conditions. By studying the interactions of this dye with a substrate, we can begin to have a understanding of the efficiency and kinetics of the electron transfer that is associated with solar energy harvesting. Additionally, I hope to incorporate plasmonic systems with our DSP system to possibly reveal alternative methods to further improve efficiency of solar conversion.