Zhenyu Zhang, a Joint Faculty Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and a Distinguished Research Staff member at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, had his research recently featured in Forbes magazine. His work illuminates the possibilities of altering titanium oxide for greater solar efficiency in fuel cells and solar cells.
Titanium oxide is a commonly used white pigment found in items like sunscreen. A photocatalyst, it absorbs particles of light. Unfortunately, it can absorb only ultraviolet light, not the more abundant visible light needed for efficient solar energy conversion. By adding pairs of chromium and nitrogen to titanium oxide, Zhang and his colleagues found they could capture more of the visible light spectrum. The work is a Department of Energy highlight.
Zhang’s main research interests lie in the multi-scale studies of the formation, stability, physical properties, and potential technological applications of surface-based nanostructures.
“Band gap narrowing of titanium oxide semiconductors by noncompensated anion-cation codoping for enhanced visible-light photoactivity,” Wenguang Zhu, Xiaofeng Qiu, Violeta Iancu, Xing-Qiu Chen, Hui Pan, Wei Wang, Nada M. Dimitrijevic, Tijana Rajh, Harry M. Meyer, III, M. Parans Paranthaman, G. M. Stocks, Hanno H. Weitering, Baohua Gu, Gyula Eres, and Zhenyu Zhang, Phys. Rev. Lett. 103: 226401 (2009).
“Tuning the electronic coupling and magnetic moment of a metal nanoparticle dimer in the nonlinear dielectric-response regime,” M. Claudia Troparevsky, Ke Zhao, Di Xiao, Zhenyu Zhang, Adolfo G. Eguiluz, Nano Lett., 9: 12, (2009).
“Calcium as the superior coating metal in functionalization of carbon fullerenes for high-capacity hydrogen storage,” Mina Yoon, Shenyuan Yang, Christian Hicke, Enge Wang, David Geohegan, and Zhenyu Zhang, Phys Rev Lett., 100: 206806 (2008).
“Managing light polarization via plasmon-molecule interactions within an asymmetric metal nanoparticle trimer,” Timur Shegai, Zhipeng Li, Tali Dadosh, Zhenyu Zhang, Hongxing Xu, and Gilad Haran, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105: 43 (2008).
“Tuning the quantum stability and superconductivity of ultrathin metal alloys,” Mustafa M. Oezer, Yu Jia, Zhenyu Zhang, James R. Thompson, Hanno H. Weitering, Science, 316: 5831 (2007).
“Charged fullerenes as high-capacity hydrogen storage media,” Mina Yoon, Shenyuan Yang, Enge Wang, and Zhenyu Zhang, Nano Lett., 9: 7 (2007).
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