A collaboration among uOttawa researchers demonstrates that visible light can transform CO2 gas into light emitting solid carbon exposing the vast potential for future technologies

Posted on Wednesday, May 26, 2021

A green beam of light jutting out from small dots of yellow light

Photo credit:
University of Ottawa

Dr. Jaspreet Walia, Post-Doctoral Fellow in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science under the supervision of CRPuO members Prof. Pierre Berini and Prof. Arnaud Weck, is the lead author on a recent paper that demonstrates that visible light can transform CO2 gas into light emitting solid carbon without the need for any other reagents, a process that is completely reversible. They used a nanostructured silver surface illuminated with green light to reduce carbon dioxide gas into a solid carbon through dissociation. As noted by Prof. Berini, “[r]ecently, there has been considerable global research effort devoted to developing technologies that can transform CO2 using visible light. Our work not only demonstrates that this is possible, but also that light emitting solid carbon can be formed.” (uOttawa Media, 2021).

This proven process will have vast implications for future environmental technologies, such as developments within the oil and gas industry, creating environmental sensors for pollution, and the potential for artificial photosynthesis, among other uses related to solar-driven chemical transformations, industrial scale catalytic processes, and reconfigurable light-emitting metasurfaces.

The research was done in collaboration with CRPuO member and uOttawa Professor Arnaud Weck and uOttawa Associate Professor Fabio Variola, both with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and members of their research groups, Sabaa Rashid (Master’s student) and Graham Killaire (Ph.D. candidate).

Blue and red smoke pour out of a smoke stack

You can read more about the science behind their discovery in their paper, Reconfigurable carbon quantum emitters from CO2 gas reduced via surface plasmons, recently published in the journal Optica as a memorandum.

Congratulations to all those involved in this breakthrough which not only provides solutions to reduce our carbon footprint but continues to propel the CRPuO and uOttawa to the forefront of research in photonics.



uOttawa Media (2021, May 26). Out of thick air: Transforming CO2 into light-emitting carbon. https://media.uottawa.ca/news/out-thick-air-transforming-co2-light-emitting-carbon#


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