Photocatalysis is a chemical process in which a solid (the photocatalyst, generally a wide band semiconductor) is able, upon activation by light absorption, to promote (catalyze) oxidation-reduction reactions of molecules on its surface. Both the possibility of using sunlight for its activation and the fact that most photocatalysts are innocuous materials, respectful with the environment and of low cost, make this process very interesting to carry out different chemical reactions. Its applications include environmental ones, specifically the elimination of air and water pollutants through oxidation, and energy ones, particularly obtaining hydrogen from water and converting CO2 into fuels or value-added products. The Photoactivated Processes Unit of IMDEA Energy is dedicated to the study and development of the second group of applications, also known as artificial photosynthesis.
Recently, researchers from this Unit have published, together with collaborators from the University of Strasbourg, a review article* on photocatalytic applications, in energy and environment, of a specific group of materials known as ferrites, which consist essentially of oxides that contain Fe3+ and at least another cation in their structure. The most common applications of ferrites are related to their magnetic properties. However, their semiconductor nature, their ability to absorb visible light, and their chemical and photochemical stability make these oxides potentially interesting for use as photocatalysts, and the latest advances in this regard are summarized in this article.
(*) P. García-Muñoz, F. Fresno, V. A. de la Peña O’Shea, N. Keller: Ferrite materials for photoassisted environmental and solar fuels applications. Topics in Current Chemistry 378 (2020) 6. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41061-019-0270-3
More information: Fernando Fresno, Senior Assistant Researcher, Photoactivated Processes Unit. firstname.lastname@example.org