The Cao Group

Molecular Simulation & Solar Energy Conversion
Catalytic Water Splitting
Catalytic water splitting is an appealing way of using solar energy to produce clean, carbon-free, and renewable energy source. We concentrate on developing new catalytic systems for both the reduction and the oxidation of water. More emphases are placed on water oxidation, not only because this process is the key step in natural and artificial photosynthesis for solar-energy conversion but also because it is thermodynamically unfavorable and is challenging from a kinetic point of view. Our research in water oxidation catalysts can be divided into two categories, including homogeneous and heterogeneous catalyst systems. Studies on homogeneous systems can provide significant information regarding basic water oxidation mechanism and the structure-and-activity relationship, while studies on heterogeneous systems can apply catalysts with extremely high activity and stability that are necessary for real large-scale applications.