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A team of researchers at the University of Ottawa has found a way to use visible light to transform carbon dioxide gas, or CO2, into solid carbon forms that emit light. This development creates a new, low-energy CO2 reduction pathway to solid carbon that will have implications across many fields. We talked to lead author Dr. Jaspreet Walia, Post-Doctoral Fellow in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Ottawa, and research lead Dr. Pierre Berini, uOttawa Distinguished Professor and University Research Chair in Surface Plasmon Photonics, to learn more. “We have reduced carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, to solid carbon on a nanostructured silver surface illuminated with green light, without the need for any other reagents. Energetic electrons excited on the silver surface by green light transfer to carbon dioxide molecules, initiating dissociation. The carbon deposits were also found to emit intense yellow light in a process known as photoluminescence.”

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