Research Topic

Photoactive Interfaces for Solar Energy Conversion

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Rising to meet the challenge of globally increasing energy consumption, all the while reducing environmental impact, undoubtedly represents one of the most compelling societal and technological challenges, with enormous potential for social benefits. Among renewable energy sources, the sun is our ultimate ...

Rising to meet the challenge of globally increasing energy consumption, all the while reducing environmental impact, undoubtedly represents one of the most compelling societal and technological challenges, with enormous potential for social benefits. Among renewable energy sources, the sun is our ultimate resource: sunlight strikes the earth’s surface at a continuous rate of 1.2 × 105 TW, largely exceeding our current worldwide power demand; it is inexhaustible and rather well-distributed across the planet.

As such, the way toward a successful solar-driven technology is the construction of durable, efficient, and cost-competitive solar cells, which are capable of effectively exploiting sunlight to produce electricity or fuels. To this end, the fundamental understanding and detailed characterization of heterogeneous photoactive interfaces aimed toward sun harvesting is crucial. This field is growing and evolving very rapidly and is the subject of an increasing number of studies.

The challenge stems from the complexity of the interfaces where efficiency results from the interlacing of several factors. The prerequisites for broad spectral harvesting and favorable energy-level alignment for the intended solar-driven process should be coupled with fast charge separation and collection, competing successfully with photogenerated charge recombination. Efficiency should also come with material and device robustness and stability in demanding operational conditions (i.e. humidity, heat, oxygen, extreme pH conditions in aqueous media).

In this Research Topic, we welcome experimental or computational papers (original research and perspective papers) covering the broad context of “design and characterization of photoactive interfaces” for solar energy conversion:

 • excited state and charge carrier dynamics
 • electrochemistry and reaction mechanisms
 • molecular and supramolecular approaches
 • new materials, hybrid solar interfaces and architectures
 • photoactive materials
 • photoelectrosynthetic cells


Keywords: Water splitting, dye-sensitized metal oxides, perovkites, solar energy, photocatalysis


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