C.N.R. Rao Seminar



September 17-18, 2015
4:00 pm - 5:15 pm
SERC Building, room 110A

Title (17th): Artificial Photosynthesis and the Generation of Hydrogen by Water Splitting
Title (18th): Extraordinary attributes of 2D nanosheets of MoS2 and other materials

SpeakerC.N.R. Rao, Presidential Visiting Scholar, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Remote Viewers:
For individuals who will not be on Temple's campus, Dr. Rao's lecture can be accessed through Webex.  The meeting number is 647 274 467


Artificial photosynthesis is a promising method for producing renewable energy with sunlight. Artificial photosynthesis employing the modified Z-sheme of natural photosynthesis can be exploited both for the oxidation and reduction of water. Oxidation of water is successively achieved by the use of cobalt and manganese oxides with the cations in the 3+ state with one eg electron [1,2]. Hydrogen can be produced by the dye-sensitized photochemical process[3] or by the use of semiconductor heterostructures [4]. In this presentation, ways of splitting water will be presented, followed by recent results obtained on the photochemical generation of hydrogen by different strategies specially those involving semiconductor heterostructures of the type ZnO/Pt/CdS [4] or nanosheets of chalcogenides[3,5] such as MoS2 and MoSe2. Other novel strategies for hydrogen generation such as the solar-thermal route based on oxides[6] will also be examined.

[1] PNAS 110: 11704 (2013)

[2] Chem. Phys. Lett. 591: 277 (2014)

[3] Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 52: 13057 (2013)

[4] Energy Environ. Sci. 6: 3589 (2013)

[5] Appl. Phys. Lett. (Materials) 2: 092802 (2014)

[6] Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 17: 122 (2015)


The discovery of the amazing properties of graphene has stimulated exploration of single- and few-layer structures of layered inorganic materials. Of all the inorganic 2D nanosheet structures, those of MoS2 have attracted great attention because of their novel properties such as the presence of a direct bandgap, good field-effect transistor characteristics, large spin–orbit splitting, intense photoluminescence, catalytic properties, magnetism, superconductivity, ferroelectricity and several other properties with potential applications in electronics, optoelectronics, energy devices and spintronics. MoS2 nanosheets have been used in lithium batteries, supercapacitors and to generate hydrogen. Highlights of the impressive properties of MoS2 nanosheets, along with their structural and spectroscopic features will be discussed in this presentation. MoS2 typifies the family of metal dichalcogenides such as MoSe2 and WS2 and there is much to be done on nanosheets of these materials. Linus Pauling would have been pleased to see how molybdenite whose structure he studied in 1923 has become so important today. Besides MoS2 and related chalcogenides, nanosheets of BN, metal oxides and metal-organic frameworks will be mentioned as well as the novel properties of layered WTe2.

** Chem. Phys. Lett. 609:172 (2014);

ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 7:7809 (2015)


Professor C.N.R. Rao one of the world’s most highly regarded chemists and author of more than 1,600 research papers, will come to Main Campus as a 2015 Temple University Presidential Visiting Scholar. Rao will lecture on September 17 and 18 in the Science Education and Research Center. Temple’s Presidential Visiting Scholars program was established to expand opportunities for students and faculty to engage with internationally acclaimed scholars, and to advance knowledge dissemination and research collaborations. 

Professor Rao is National Research Professor, Linus Pauling Research Professor & Honorary President at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre (JNC) for Advanced Scientific Research, India, and Director of JNC’s International Centre for Materials Science.  

His research areas are transition metal oxides; inorganic-organic hybrid materials; nanomaterials; and artificial photosynthesis and hydrogen generation by photocatalysis and thermal means. He is a fellow of many national academies, tan awardee of more than 60 honorary degrees, and a recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award of India.