Professor K. Jain – Manufacturing Fuels and Chemicals Using Concentrated Light


As the world searches for new ways to harness nature’s natural resources to help us produce enough power, learning how to control and harness light as a source of energy is essential. Along with how it can be used to control the attributes and functions of advanced materials.

In the third bp-ICAM seminar for 2022, Professor Jain explained how his laboratory is looking into harnessing the power of light, experimenting with a new form of photocatalysis that employs concentrated light. He also covered how the technology relies on metal nanostructures that function as visible-light-harvesting antenna. Drawing a striking example from the conversion of CO2 to form C1–C3 hydrocarbons on gold nanoparticles under visible light.

Also discussed in the webinar was the use of concentrated light for: achieving important transformations using milder conditions; altering the inherent catalytic properties of a metal and modulating product selectivity; driving thermodynamically uphill reactions where free energy is harvested from light and stored in the form of energy-rich bonds; and boosting electroconversion.


Prashant K. Jain is a member of the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry, Materials Research Laboratory, and the Beckman Institute. He is also a University Scholar, an Alumni Research Scholar, and an Affiliate Faculty Member of Physics and the Illinois Quantum Information Science and Technology Center.

Prof Jain’s lab specializes in nanoscale light–matter interactions and nanoscale-spatial-resolution chemical imaging. His noteworthy recent contributions are co-discoveries of plasmon resonances in doped nanocrystals and plasmonic photoredox catalysis. His collective work has been published in over 100 papers and cited over 28,000 times. He has presented over 100 invited talks and keynote lectures and has been listed among Highly Cited Researchers by Clarivate Analytics and Elsevier Scopus.