Finding the Way to Solar Fuels with Dye Sensitized Photoelectrosynthesis Cells

Thomas Meyer

Thomas Meyer

Arey Professor of Chemistry; Director, Energy Frontier Research Center on Solar Fuels

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Thomas J. Meyer is Arey Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina, Director of the UNC Energy Frontier Research Center on Solar Fuels, and Chief Scientist of the Research Triangle Solar Fuels Institute. From 2000 to 2004, he served as Associate Director for Strategic Research at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico where he oversaw the research activities of ~3000 employees and a research budget of >$600 M. From 1994 to 1999, he was Vice Chancellor/Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Research at UNC-CH where he oversaw a graduate and professional student program of over 8000 students, a research portfolio > $300 million, and led planning efforts leading to new initiatives in geonomics, bioinformatics, Arts Carolina, and The Center for the Study of the American South, among others. After receiving a BS from Ohio University in 1963 Meyer received a Ph.D. from Stanford in 1966 with Henry Taube, who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1983. He was a NATO postdoctoral fellow at University College, London in 1967 with Sir Ronald Nyholm, joined the faculty at UNC in 1968, served as Head of Chemistry from 1985 to 1989, and Chair of the Curriculum in Applied Sciences. He has served on number of oversight boards including the North Carolina Board of Science and Technology, Associated Universities Inc, Science and Technology External Advisory Committee for Sandia National Laboratory, and the Commission on Higher Education for the State of New Mexico. He was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for service to the State of North Carolina in 1999. Meyer is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has won many prizes for chemical research. His research has been notable for pioneering, innovative discoveries in chemical reactivity and applications to important problems in chemistry and energy conversion including the first examples of excited state electron transfer with implications for energy conversion (with D.G. Whitten, 1974), excited state electron transfer in a chromophore-quencher assembly (1978), polypyridyl Ru oxo complexes (1978), proton coupled electron transfer (PCET, 1981), vinyl polymerization of metal complexes (with R.W. Murray,1981), first molecular catalyst for water oxidation (1982), application of the energy gap law to metal complex excited states (1982), chemical approaches to artificial photosynthesis (1989), first interfacial catalyst for CO2 reduction (1989), Dye Sensitized Photoelectrosyntheis Cells (DSPEC, 1999 and 2010), Modular Approach to Artificial Photosynthesis (2005), and solution and interfacial single-site catalysts for water oxidation (2008-2010). He has published over 650 papers, holds three patents, and is one of the most highly cited chemists in the world. Meyer’s current research interests are in application of Dye Sensitized Photoelectrochemical Cells to solar fuels/artificial photosynthesis, hydrocarbon activation/oxidation, water oxidation and CO2 reduction, Proton Coupled Electron Transfer, and photochemical electron and energy transfer reactions in molecular assemblies and at interfaces.

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