For the first time, researchers have succeeded in creating iron molecules that can function as a photocultist in fuel and solar cells to generate electricity. The results suggest that iron molecules can replace the more expensive and rare metals used today.
Some photocatellists and solar cells are based on techniques that contain atoms containing metals, which are referred to as metal complexes. In this context, the work of metal complexes is to absorb sunlight and use their energy. A major problem arises in metals of atoms, however, it is a rare and expensive metal, such as fine metal ruthenium, osmium and iridium.
"Our results now show that it is possible to replace rare metals with iron by using advanced molecular design, which is common in the Earth's crust and is so cheap," said Professor Kenneth Wernmark, a Chemistry professor at Lund University of Sweden.
With colleagues, Kenneth Warnck works for long-lasting alternative metals. Researchers have focused on iron, which is significantly easier for a source with six percent of the Earth's crust. Researchers have created their own iron-based atoms, whose potential studies for use in solar energy applications have been found in previous studies.
In this new study, the researchers have stepped up one step and developed a new iron-based molecule that has the ability to capture and use solar energy for a long time to react to other long molecules. The new iron molecule also has the ability to glow for a long time, so researchers will be able to see iron-based light with the naked eye at room temperature for the first time.
Lund University's fellow Peter Parson explains that "good results are based on the fact that we have optimized the molecular structure around the iron molecule."
This study is now published in the journal Science. According to the researchers, source iron iron molecules can be used in new photocontrols for the production of solar fuel, either as hydrogen or methanol from carbon dioxide by splitting water. In addition, new findings open other possible fields of application for iron atoms, i.e. As a material in light diodes (LED)
Lund researchers were surprised that they got good results so quickly. In just five years, they were successful in making iron interesting for photochemical applications, in which most of the wealth was better than most noble metals.
Kenneth Warnck says, "We believe that it will take at least ten years."
In addition to the researchers of Lund University, the University of Copenhagen and the cooperatives of Uppsala University were also involved in the collaboration.