P355: Solar Energy Activity Lab (SEAL): A collaborative project to help discover inexpensive, stable materials for solar photoelectrolysis
This lab experiment provides an example of a real-time research laboratory experience that is aimed at individual’s exploration and development, with the scientific goal of discovering inexpensive, stable oxide semiconductors that can efficiently photoelectrolyze water to a useable fuel, hydrogen. Students create unique metal oxide semiconductors combinations, scan the samples for photoactivity using a purchased scan station, and report their findings to a collaborative database. A distinctive feature of the project is its ability to be implemented in a variety of educational levels with a breadth and depth of material covered accordingly. Currently, kits are being utilized in high schools, at the undergraduate level, or as informal science outreach activities. The project provides students and scientists from different disciplines the opportunity to collaborate in research pertaining to clean, renewable energy and provides instructors with a tool to teach concepts such as stoichiometry, electro- and redox chemistry, and materials science.