Photochemistry

Definition

Photochemistry is the study of chemical processes that occur because of the absorption of light. The study of photochemical systems that use sunlight to drive important chemical reactions or to generate electricity is of great practical significance for the development of sustainable sources of energy.

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News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    The flow of energy in Earth's primary light harvesters — photosynthetic pigment–protein complexes — needs to be heavily regulated, as the sun's energy supply can vary over many orders of magnitude. Observing hundreds of individual light-harvesting complexes has now provided important insights into the machinery that regulates this process.

    • Peter J. Walla
    Nature Chemistry 9, 728–730
  • News and Views |

    Femtochemistry, the real-time study of reactions on a timescale that captures the molecular and atomic activity involved, has traditionally been performed in the gas or liquid phase. It has now been extended to the solid state in a study that highlights how a controlled reaction environment can place steric constraints on the motions of photoproducts.

    • Giulio Cerullo
    •  & Marco Garavelli
    Nature Chemistry 9, 506–507
  • News and Views |

    Silicon-based photovoltaics dominate the market. A study now sets a new record efficiency for large-area crystalline silicon solar cells, placing the theoretical efficiency limits within reach.

    • Pierre-Jean Ribeyron
    Nature Energy 2, 17067