Splitting water: Nanoscale imaging yields key insights

(DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) In the quest to realize artificial photosynthesis to convert sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide into fuel — just as plants do — researchers need to not only identify materials to efficiently perform photoelectrochemical water splitting, but also to understand why a certain material may or may not work. Now scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have pioneered a technique that uses nanoscale imaging to understand how local, nanoscale properties can affect a material's macroscopic performance.