Examining the Role of Photosensitizers in Hydrogen Gas Production

Posted May 10th, 2010 at 2:44 pm.

Amy Case

Mentor: Professor Jonas Goldsmith

Fossil fuels are limited resources that form CO2 when burned. Carbon dioxide acts as a greenhouse gas, contributing further to global warming. Hydrogen is an ideal alternative fuel. It is high energy and combusts to form water. This lab’s research focuses on harnessing the energy in sunlight to convert water into hydrogen gas.

This research will utilize a photosensitizer to activate an electron relay and produce hydrogen gas. A photosensitizer (in this case Ru(4-(5-thiopentyl)-2,2’-bipyridine)3 ) is a metal complex that will absorb the energy from sunlight and transfer it to the electron relay, another metal complex. The electron relay will react with the protons in water and make H2.

This summer I will attempt to synthesize 4-(5-thiopentyl)-2,2’bipyridine. The synthesis of 4-(5-thiopentyl)-2, 2’bipyridine is a multi-step process that requires high purity of each intermediate product. This ligand is unique because it is able to adhere to nanoparticles and increase the favorability of the reaction. Three of these ligands will complex with ruthenium to form Ru(4-(5-thiopentyl)-2,2’-bipyridine)3 (the photosensitizer).


Goldsmith, J.I.; Hudson, W.R.; Lowry, M.S.; Anderson, T.H.; Bernhard, S.J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2005, 127, 7502-7510.

Filed under: 2007,Case, Amy,Goldsmith, Dr. Jonas by Ann Dixon

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