Chapter 14. Photoelectrocatalyst Discovery Using High-Throughput Methods and Combinatorial Chemistry

  1. Lionel Vayssieres
  1. Alan Kleiman-Shwarsctein,
  2. Peng Zhang,
  3. Yongsheng Hu and
  4. Eric W. McFarland

Published Online: 2 MAR 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470823996.ch14

On Solar Hydrogen & Nanotechnology

On Solar Hydrogen & Nanotechnology

How to Cite

Kleiman-Shwarsctein, A., Zhang, P., Hu, Y. and McFarland, E. W. (2010) Photoelectrocatalyst Discovery Using High-Throughput Methods and Combinatorial Chemistry, in On Solar Hydrogen & Nanotechnology (ed L. Vayssieres), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470823996.ch14

Editor Information

  1. National Institute for Materials Science, Japan

Author Information

  1. University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 2 MAR 2010
  2. Published Print: 4 JAN 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470823972

Online ISBN: 9780470823996



  • high throughput experimentation;
  • parallel synthesis;
  • parallel screening;
  • automated synthesis;
  • automated screening;
  • combinatorial chemistry;
  • photoelectrochemistry;
  • semiconductor;
  • solar energy


In spite of decades of work by hundreds of talented researchers a cost-effective means of transforming the sun's energy into electricity, or, storable fuels or chemicals has not been found. Of the known semiconductors that might be used in photoelectrochemical processes none have been shown to be cost effective; however, there are an enormous number of formulations that could be created from earth abundant non-toxic elements, and only a tiny fraction have been synthesized and studied. Unfortunately, we do not have the basic knowledge or theory to predict in advance the existence of a suitable material system or what the composition should be. Combinatorial chemistry is the synthesis and screening of large numbers of different materials from different combinations of chemical variables in a systematic and deliberate manner to explore their composition–structural-property relationships and discover, by induction, an otherwise unpredictable material with specific desirable properties. In the absence of a thorough a prior understanding of the many interdependent properties and relationships between components, the components are combined in a large number of different ways and from observations of specific properties of the different combinations the fundamental interdependent relationships are inductively determined. High-throughput experimentation methods using robotics and computers allows the use of combinatorial methods at high speed to increase the rate of discovery and understanding of complex materials.