Solar energy conversion can represent an answer to our current energy and environmental challenges. It is noteworthy that the sunlight striking the earth in one hour provides more energy than the global energy consumption in an entire year.
The International Year of Light drew to a close with the pledge by world leaders at the COP21 to take substantial action against climate change.
Solar energy conversion can represent an answer to our current energy and environmental challenges.
It is noteworthy that the sunlight striking the earth in one hour provides more energy than the global energy consumption in an entire year.
Inspired by nature, materials scientists have devoted fervent efforts to the discovery and development of new materials and devices capable of harvesting sunlight to generate clean and renewable energy and of protecting the environment. Clean materials represent indeed crucial road-blocks to improved performance in a number of important energy and environmental technologies for applications such as photovoltaics, photocatalysis, artificial photosynthesis, and solar-driven water splitting.
In this context, it is not surprising that the 2015 Eni “Debut in Research ‘ prize was awarded to research on photoactive materials with tailored applications in sunlight harvesting for energy generation and environmental remediation.
Margherita Maiuri, postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University, and Daniela Meroni, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Milan, winners of the 2015 Eni Prize, for researchers of less than 30 years of age, had published an Editorial on "Chemistry of Materials" bringing readership’s attention that light is not only the triggering event that allows these materials to operate. Light also represents a versatile and powerful tool to learn about the working principles of these systems.
Among the countless light-based characterization tools that are routinely employed by materials scientists, we will give some input on how advanced optical techniques led to gain valuable insight into the study of “hot‘ materials in artificial light harvesting, photovoltaics, and photocatalysis.