Noah Bussell

Synthesis and Characterization of Cu3N for the Electrochemical Reduction of CO2

With abundant greenhouse gas emissions negatively affecting environmental and human health, it is extremely important that research is conducted on semiconductor materials that can both produce energy renewably and reduce existing pools of atmospheric carbon dioxide. In accordance with this pressing task, I will be working on a project to synthesize and develop a transition metal nitride (Cu3N) with the ultimate aim of demonstrating its ability to reduce carbon dioxide both selectively and efficiently into liquid and gaseous fuels, using solar energy. While copper nitride has a high absorption coefficient, a narrow band gap, and other properties that would enable it to perform favorably in photovoltaic and photoelectrochemical cells, little research has been done on its potential within the context of CO2 reduction reactions due to difficulties encountered in its synthesis. I will thus be building off of the Cooper Lab’s work at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to effectively synthesize the material, and then further characterize its properties and performance in the solar conversion of carbon dioxide into useful, energetic products.

Message to Sponsor

Thank you very much for sponsoring my SURF research project and making the program possible! The fellowship provided me with an invaluable opportunity to develop my experimental skills as well as to gain greater familiarity with the broader scientific research environment. I was able to learn so much whether it be related to synthetic techniques, tips for graduate school, or scientific communication and I am sure this experience will greatly help me down in the line in graduate school and thereafter. Also, having the opportunity to conduct intensive research as an undergraduate has confirmed my desire to pursue a Ph.D. in the sciences and was overall an incredibly positive research experience.
  • Major: Chemical Engineering
  • Sponsor: Rose Hill Foundation
  • Mentor: Jason Cooper