Stable, Organic Homogenous Photocatalysts with Enhanced Photo Efficiency

University of Arizona Background
Heterogeneous photocatalysts are limited by system constraints, including inefficiencies in energy utilization, turnover, chemical species mass transport, and need for surface area for photon exposure. Homogenous and heterogenous catalysts may require rare and expensive materials. Use of toxic metals may necessitate expensive downstream separations to remove trace impurities. Removing such limitations can reduce costs and enable new chemicals routes, including supporting applications in green chemistry and renewable energy.
Technology Overview
University of Arizona researchers have invented a new class of organic, photocatalytic molecules, which may be used as homogenous catalysts. These stable, carbenium-based compounds are redox active, are highly efficient light absorbers, stable, easy to synthesize at moderate to high temperatures, made of earth-abundant materials, and the molecular design is tunable. These species are also highly fluorescent dyes with a large extinction coefficient, long fluorescent lifetimes, and are redox active.
Benefits

Stable homogenous catalyst
Efficient light absorption
Earth abundant molecular catalyst
Tuneable via a variety of molecular designs
Use of low energy light (> 500nm)

Applications

Inexpensive homogenous catalysts without toxic or rare metals 
Novel organic molecule synthesis
Fluorescent reagents or dyes
Artificial photosynthesis for direct conversion of sunlight to chemicals

UA19-181, UA20-182

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