Novel ATR-IR Applications for Artificial Photosynthesis
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Novel ATR-IR Applications for Artificial Photosynthesis (Solar to Fuel Conversion)

All life on earth depends on natural photosynthesis,which produces carbohydrates and O2 from sun light and CO2. 'Artificial photosynthesis' is the research field of replicating natural photosynthesis in an artificial way. In addition, there are three major crises threatening humanity today: global warming, food shortage, and running out of fossil energy sources. Successful artificial photosynthesis will produce oxygen and food/chemicals from only sun light and CO2. The production of O2 will solve the problem of global warming, whereas production of food/chemicals will solve the energy and food crises of today. The sun delivers 3,850,000 exajoules (EJ) per year to the earth's surface1. All artificial energy produced by humankind in one year from fossil fuels and nuclear energy is only 0.01% of sun energy that reaches the earth surface in one year2. Nature only captures 0.07% of the earth's total solar energy with artificial photosynthesis, which is 3,000 EJ per year in biomass3, including food, forests, animals and biological life on the planet. If artificial photosynthesis can only capture a small portion of the sun's energy, this will significantly help in solving the three mentioned crises.

Artificial Photosynthesis is a rapidly growing research field around the world.  The 'BioSolar Cells Project' is a joint initiative of companies and knowledge institutions, supported by the Dutch government. As a member of Biosolar Cell project and a member of Mesoscale Chemical Systems at MESA+ Nanotechnology Center at University of Twente, I will present novel ATR-IR (Attenuated Total Reflectance Infrared Spectroscopy) applications4-6 I have developed within the artificial photosynthesis research.

References:

1.      Smil, V., General Energetics: Energy in the Biosphere and Civilization. Wiley: 1991.
2.      Morton, O., Nature 2006, 443 (7107), 19-22.
3.      Miyamoto, K., Renewable biological systems for alternative sustainable energy production (FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin - 128). Osaka University: 1997.
4.      Karabudak, E.; Kas, R.; Ogieglo, W.; Rafieian, D.; Schlautmann, S.; Lammertink, R. G. H.; Gardeniers, H. J. G. E.; Mul, G., Accepted to Analytical Chemistry 2012.
5.      Karabudak, E.; Mojet, B. L.; Schlautmann, S.; Mul, G.; Gardeniers, H., Anal Chem 2012, 84 (7), 3132-3137.
6.      Karabudak, E.; Yuce, E.; Schlautmann, S.; Hansen, O.; Mul, G.; Gardeniers, H., Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2012, 14 (31), 10882-10885.