Design and characterization of integrated systems for solar fuel production

  • ISC Department Seminar
  • Date: Dec 4, 2023
  • Time: 02:00 PM - 03:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Prof. Francesca Maria Toma
  • Director of Institute of Functional Materials for Sustainability, Helmholtz Zentrum Hereon
  • Location: Faradayweg 4-6
  • Room: FHI Library (Building A)
  • Host: Interface Science Department
  • Contact:
Design and characterization of integrated systems for solar fuel production


Carbon neutral energy sources that are scalable, deployable, and cost effective will be required at an unprecedented scale to halt irreversible climate change. To design novel materials that can efficiently produce energy with minimal impact on the environment, few factors are of primary importance: i) complete understanding of the properties of the most selective and efficient reaction environments, and ii) correlative characterization of their behavior under operating conditions. Here, we will focus on the role played by microenvironments and on the opportunities offered by the utilization of sunlight for hydrogen production and CO2 reduction. We will show the synthesis and the advanced characterization of integrated semiconductors and catalysts for (photo)electrocatalytic systems as they can be used under realistic operating conditions for solar fuel production. We will present recent results from our group supported by theoretical calculations that led to highly selective CO2 (photo)reduction on Cu, Ag, and Cu2O electrodes. In addition, we will discuss how to make more durable materials for light-driven H2 production.


Dr. Toma is an expert in materials synthesis and characterization. In her career, she has worked with several classes of materials spanning energy research and nanomedicine. During her postdoctoral research at University of California Santa Barbara first, and Berkeley afterwards, she developed an interest for organic materials for molecular electronics. With a very interdisciplinary background, she leads the Institute of Functional Materials for Sustainability at Helmholtz Zentrum Hereon, where she focuses on the synthesis and characterization of novel materials for renewable energy and biological applications. In her career, and more intensively in years at LBNL, she has been recognized world-wide for her contribution in (photo)electrocatalysis. In 2018, she was selected by the Royal Society of Chemistry as one of the “100 Women of Materials Science”.·

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