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MSSI/Bernal Institute Research Forum - Thursday, 27 October at 12h00

MSSI/Bernal Institute Research Forum - Thursday, 27 October at 12h00

Dr Micheál D. Scanlon, Department of Chemistry, University College Cork


Soft-Photoconversion: Pushing the Boundaries of Photoconversion Efficiencies

at Self-healing Photosensitiser Functionalised Soft Interfaces


Common to all solar energy conversion devices are the abilities to harvest light and then separate the products of the photo-reaction, minimizing recombination. Typically charge separation takes place at the surface of nanostructured electrodes, often covered with photosensitizer molecules such as in dye-sensitized solar cells. Certain soft interfaces formed between aqueous and organic electrolyte solutions of low miscibility (e.g., trifluorotoluene) are electroactive in that it is possible to precisely control the Galvani potential difference between the two adjacent liquids (i.e., to electrify the interface), and drive charge transfer reactions.1 Here, a new paradigm in solar energy conversion is explored by achieving charge separation at electroactive soft interfaces, without solid electrodes. Utilizing liquid-liquid electrochemistry, photoactive interfacial supramolecular assemblies of zinc porphyrin aggregates were assembled at a water-trifluorotoluene interface by judicious optimization of the experimental conditions, producing an order of magnitude increase in the photocurrents over the previous state-of-the-art.2

(1)        Samec, Z. Pure Appl. Chem., 76 (2004) 2147.

(2)        Fermín, D. J. et al., J. Phys. Chem. B, 102 (1998) 10334.


Micheál D. Scanlon is a physical and analytical chemist who specializes in electrochemistry. In 2014 he was awarded funding through Science Foundation Ireland’s Starting Investigator Research Grant scheme to pursue independent research in the Department of Chemistry at University College Cork. To date he has published 33 articles, 2 reviews and 1 book chapter primarily on the fundamentals and applications of liquid-liquid electrochemistry, and has an H-index of 19 with over 1,100 citations. Dr Scanlon was a postdoctoral researcher in the groups of Professor Edmond Magner at the University of Limerick (2009-2011) and then Professor Hubert Girault at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland (2011-2014). Prior to that, he completed his PhD studies at the Tyndall National Institute in Cork with Professor Damien W. M. Arrigan (2009).

DATE:           Thursday, 27 October 2016

TIME:            12h00

VENUE:        MSG-025 MSSI Building Extension


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