Harnessing infrared solar energy with plasmonic energy upconversion

Zichao Lian, Yoichi Kobayashi, Junie Jhon M. Vequizo, Chandana Sampath Kumara Ranasinghe, Akira Yamakata, Takuro Nagai, Koji Kimoto, Katsuaki Kobayashi, Koji Tanaka, Toshiharu Teranishi, Masanori Sakamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Solar radiation is the most abundant renewable energy source, however, its overall utilization remains inefficient as half of the energy is in the form of infrared (IR) light, which cannot be harnessed due to its low energy. Upconversion (UC) is an effective means of converting IR radiation to high-energy light. Here, we show a plasmonic CuS/CdS heterostructured semiconductor that can generate energy comparable to that of visible light from IR radiation, with a high efficiency of up to 5.1%. The unique charge dynamics of this system lead to efficient carrier transfer and long-lived charge separation. As a result, photocatalytic coupled redox reactions occur, including oxidation of methanol to formaldehyde and hydrogen evolution, with activities maintained over one week. This work demonstrates the promise of plasmonic UC for utilizing sustainable energy from low-flux IR light.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Sustainability
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Food Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Urban Studies
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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