Artificial photosynthesis: opportunities and challenges of molecular catalysts
Molecular catalysis plays an essential role in both natural and artificial photosynthesis (AP). However, the field of molecular catalysis for AP has gradually declined in recent years because of doubt about the long-term stability of molecular-catalyst-based devices. This review summarizes the development history of molecular-catalyst-based AP, including the fundamentals of AP, molecular catalysts for water oxidation, proton reduction and CO2 reduction, and molecular-catalyst-based AP devices, and it provides an analysis of the advantages, challenges, and stability of molecular catalysts. With this review, we aim to highlight the following points: (i) an investigation on molecular catalysis is one of the most promising ways to obtain atom-efficient catalysts with outstanding intrinsic activities; (ii) effective heterogenization of molecular catalysts is currently the primary challenge for the application of molecular catalysis in AP devices; (iii) development of molecular catalysts is a promising way to solve the problems of catalysis involved in practical solar fuel production. In molecular-catalysis-based AP, much has been attained, but more challenges remain with regard to long-term stability and heterogenization techniques.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Advances in Solar Energy Conversion