Controlling and Optimizing Photoinduced Charge Transfer across Ultrathin Silica Separation Membrane with Embedded Molecular Wires for Artificial Photosynthesis

Hongna Zhang, Ian Weiss, Indranil Rudra, Won Jun Jo, Simon Kellner, Georgios Katsoukis, Elena Galoppini, Heinz Frei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ultrathin amorphous silica membranes with embedded organic molecular wires (oligo(p-phenylenevinylene), three aryl units) provide chemical separation of incompatible catalytic environments of CO2 reduction and H2O oxidation while maintaining electronic and protonic coupling between them. For an efficient nanoscale artificial photosystem, important performance criteria are high rate and directionality of charge flow. Here, the visible-light-induced charge flow from an anchored Ru bipyridyl light absorber across the silica nanomembrane to Co3O4 water oxidation catalyst is quantitatively evaluated by photocurrent measurements. Charge transfer rates increase linearly with wire density, with 5 nm−2 identified as an optimal target. Accurate measurement of wire and light absorber densities is accomplished by the polarized FT-IRRAS method. Guided by density functional theory (DFT) calculations, four wire derivatives featuring electron-donating (methoxy) and -withdrawing groups (sulfonate, perfluorophenyl) with highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO) potentials ranging from 1.48 to 0.64 V vs NHE were synthesized and photocurrents evaluated. Charge transfer rates increase sharply with increasing driving force for hole transfer from the excited light absorber to the embedded wire, followed by a decrease as the HOMO potential of the wire moves beyond the Co3O4 valence band level toward more negative values, pointing to an optimal wire HOMO potential around 1.3 V vs NHE. Comparison with photocurrents of samples without nanomembrane indicates that silica layers with optimized wires are able to approach undiminished electron flux at typical solar intensities. Combined
with the established high proton conductivity and small-molecule blocking property, the charge transfer measurements demonstrate that oxidation and reduction catalysis can be efficiently integrated on the nanoscale under separation by an ultrathin silica membrane.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23532-23546
Number of pages15
JournalACS applied materials & interfaces
Volume13
Issue number20
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • n/a OA procedure

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