“If you just think about the problems that we have to face as humankind over the next 25 years and make a list – you will talk about war, hunger, pollution, clean water, energy,” says Assistant Professor Lilac Amirav, of the Schulich Faculty of Chemistry. “Of all these things, energy is probably the most important – because if you solve the energy crisis, you impact everything.”
A key opening to discovering energy solutions, says Amirav, comes from the recent ability to manipulate the properties of matter at the Nano scale. “In colloidal photosynthesis, we can control the size of the particles – and that is a key that means we can tune most of the nanoparticle properties, for example its band gap. We are reaching that point where we can create almost everything that we can draw on paper – it’s pretty remarkable. It opens the doors of creativity, and it also means we can stop playing and actually design something for a particular task. We are now trying to create materials that will translate sun energy into chemical reaction – direct solar-to-fuel conversions.”
A member of the national I-CORE for Solar Fuels research team orchestrated by the Grand Technion Energy Program, Amirav finished her first degree when she was only 18. She returns to Technion from Berkeley in the US and is presently setting up her multidisciplinary lab.