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David Bradley ISSUE #9
September 2000

Fullerenes on film

  Click on picture to get molecule in ChemSketch format.
The familiar fullerene soccerball molecule could one day kick-start solar power. Click on picture to get molecule in ChemSketch format.
According to Prashant Kamat of Notre Dame Radiation laboratory Notre Dame, Indiana, fullerenes are possible candidates for harvesting solar energy but past efforts have reported very low photocurrents (less than a microampere). Although researchers observed a 10 microamp/cm2 current last year, which C&EN [C&E News 1999, 77(15), 13*] described as a significant breakthrough in developing fullerenes for organic photovoltaic cells. Now, Kamat and his team have succeeded in obtaining a 2-3 orders of magnitude increase on previous efforts using electrodeposited fullerene films.

He and his team say this is the first time electrodeposition of an electrochemically active fullerene film on different electrodes has been achieved. According to Kamat, the films can undergo six successive reversible reductions as well as resist oxidation, which he believes, makes these fullerene film electrodes potentially useful in electrocatalytic applications. The films generate a photocurrent under visible light irradiation.

"We believe that this methodology of electrodepositing fullerene molecules as films is potentially important for developing new electrode materials and light energy conversion devices", Kamat told Reactive Reports.

Reference:
P.V. Kamat, J. Phys. Chem. B, 2000, 104, 4014.*

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