Friday, October 2, 2009

Shining a light on green energy

Graduate student Chantelle Anfuso works with lasers in Lian's lab.

The physical chemistry lab of Tim Lian specializes in ultra-fast spectroscopy, electron transfer processes and quantum dots – nano-particles that hold promise for everything from electronics to medicine and renewable energy.

In collaboration with scientists at Emory and elsewhere, Lian's team is studying ways to convert the sun’s energy into cheap and clean solutions to the global energy crisis. “Solar energy conversion is very complex,” he says. “Spectroscopy allows us to break it down into small, fundamental steps that you can study carefully.”

Quantum dots (in above photo) are good at absorbing light and could provide energy to drive reactions needed for solar energy conversion processes.

“These are all very challenging scientific problems,” Lian says, adding that it will take many people, working across disciplines, to make solar energy go mainstream. “We have to solve these problems, because using fossil fuels is not sustainable."

Read more.

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A biochemical path to solar energy
Chemistry's crucial catalyst

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