Jul 20, 2022

Chiral molecules beat magnets when it comes to boosting water splitting

Posted by in categories: chemistry, energy, nanotechnology

New electrocatalysis electrodes have been created that are simpler and cheaper than conventional ones, and can substantially increase the efficiency of water splitting. Decorated with chiral molecules like helicenes, these devices double the activity of the oxygen evolution reaction, the bottleneck of the process, and improve its selectivity.

‘With electrocatalysis, we [can] use electrons from renewable sources [like solar and wind] to produce clean chemicals and fuels,’ explains Magalí Lingenfelder from the Max Planck–EPFL laboratory for molecular nanoscience and technology, in Switzerland, who led the study. In this work, her team focused on the oxygen evolution reaction. ‘It’s the bottleneck of water splitting,’ she says. ‘We wanted to increase its performance with cheap, simple solutions.’

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