Jillian Lee Dempsey

2015 Fellow

Current Institution: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


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About Jillian Lee Dempsey's Work

The efficient conversion of solar energy to chemical energy through artificial photosynthesis will help address evolving global energy needs. Common strategies for sunlight-to-fuel technology decouple light harvesting from fuel synthesis, leading to low efficiency in energy conversion. My research laboratory is exploring pathways by which catalysts in their electronic excited states can promote fuel-producing reactions, thereby minimizing energy loss and increasing efficiency in sunlight-to-fuel schemes. Over the next five years, we will explore how the complex proton-coupled electron transfer reactions that underpin fuel synthesis can be initiated by catalysts in their photo-excited states. Our work will enable the efficient storage of solar photon energy in chemical fuels and will have a profound impact on the global energy landscape.