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Nicolas Queyriaux

Towards the construction of a H2-evolving photocathode by a molecular strategy

Published on 24 March 2016

Thesis presented March 24, 2016

Abstract :
There is an urgent need to provide solutions for the energetic challenge our planet has to face. The production of “environmentally friendly” fuels such as dihydrogen H2 through sunlight-driven water splitting holds great promise. Hydrogen is indeed a carbon-free energy carrier that can be stored and used on request to produce electricity thanks to the mature fuel cell technology. Moreover, water and solar energy form the ideal couple for H2 production because they are both readily available and their use is considered to be safe for the environment. The design and study of molecular photocatalytic systems for H2 evolution from water has therefore been the subject of intensive research interest in the last decade and their implementation into functional dye-sensitized photoelectrocatalytic cells recently appeared in the literature. It is nevertheless necessary to optimize the efficiency of these molecular systems in order to reach the targeted solar-to-hydrogen conversion yield. In that context, this PhD thesis aimed at getting a better understanding of parameters relevant for the optimization of molecular H2-evolving photocathodes: first, different coupling strategies have been studied to covalently assemble a light-harvesting unit with a redox-active moiety; second, a synthetic methodology allowing introduction of robust anchoring groups in the coordination sphere of ruthenium photosensitizers has been widely studied and the first photoelectrodes characterized; finally, a new series of proton reduction catalysts featuring a polypyridinic ligand has been investigated, allowing important kinetic and mechanistic insights to be obtained.

Hydrogen, Catalysis, Artificial Photosynthesis, Photocathode, Ruthenium complexes

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