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Sunlight Produces Hydrogen via ‘Artificial Leaf’

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A flat mesh of light-absorbing semiconductor nanowires can split water molecules, producing hydrogen gas that could be used for fuel.

The “artificial leaf” was developed by a team led by professor Dr. Peidong Yang of University of California, Berkeley, and professor Dr. Bin Liu of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

A diagram of the nanowire mesh.
A diagram of the nanowire mesh. Courtesy of ACS Nano.


The mesh works without any electron mediators. The researchers said that large-scale networks of the mesh could be made using low-cost solution synthesis and vacuum filtration techniques. The hydrogen created by these mesh networks could fuel vehicles and power homes and businesses in an environmentally friendly way.

The U.S. Department of Energy and the Singapore-Berkeley Research Initiative for Sustainable Energy funded the project.

The research was published in the ACS Nano (doi: 10.1021/nn5051954).

For more information, visit www.berkeley.edu.

Published: December 2014
Research & TechnologyAmericasCaliforniaUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleysolarwater splittingenergyhydrogenPeidong YangBin LiuNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeAsia-PacificTech Pulse

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