Search Menu
Photonics Media Photonics Marketplace Photonics Spectra BioPhotonics Vision Spectra Photonics Showcase Photonics ProdSpec Photonics Handbook

Spectroscopy Technique May Lead to Ways to Convert Carbon Dioxide to Clean Fuel

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email
Optical spectroscopy is being applied by a team at the University of Liverpool to better understand electrocatalysis, a phenomenon that could enable more efficient conversion of waste products, like carbon dioxide (CO2), to usable energy. The team, which develops catalytic systems for sustainable fuel production, is using vibrational sum-frequency generation (VSFG) spectroscopy to study the electrochemical reduction of CO2 in situ and provide insight into the potential of electrocatalysts to convert CO2 into energy-rich byproducts such as carbon monoxide.

Use of spectroscopy to study clean fuel technologies, University of Liverpool.
Use of vibrational sum-frequency generation (VSFG) spectroscopy could help scientists unlock the full potential of new clean energy technologies. Courtesy of University of Liverpool.

The researchers are using VSFG, coupled with electrochemical experiments, to explore the chemistry of one of the most promising CO2 reduction electrocatalysts, Mn(bpy)(CO)3Br. Using VSFG, the team was able to observe key intermediates that are present only at an electrode surface for a short time. This had not been possible in previous experimental studies.

Researcher Gaia Neri said, “We’ve shown that VSFG makes it possible to follow the behavior of even very short-lived species in the catalytic cycle. This is exciting as it provides researchers with new opportunities to better understand how electrocatalysts operate, which is an important next step toward commercializing the process of electrochemical CO2 conversion into clean fuel technologies.”

The team is working to further improve the sensitivity of its technique and is developing a new detection system that will allow for a better signal-to-noise ratio.

The research was published in Nature Catalysis (

Photonics Spectra
Feb 2019
Research & TechnologyeducationEuropeUniversity of Liverpoolspectroscopyvibrational sum-frequency generation spectroscopyclean energyenvironmentlasersoptical spectroscopyTech Pulse

back to top
Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn YouTube RSS
©2023 Photonics Media, 100 West St., Pittsfield, MA, 01201 USA, [email protected]

Photonics Media, Laurin Publishing
x Subscribe to Photonics Spectra magazine - FREE!
We use cookies to improve user experience and analyze our website traffic as stated in our Privacy Policy. By using this website, you agree to the use of cookies unless you have disabled them.