It has 9,100 full-time undergraduates and almost 5,000 graduate students. The university’s name reflects its early history as a liberal arts college and preparatory school (now Boston College High School) in Boston’s South End. It is a member of the 568 Group and the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Its main campus is a historic district and features some of the earliest examples of collegiate gothic architecture in North America.
Boston College’s undergraduate program is currently ranked 31st in the National Universities ranking by U.S. News & World Report. Boston College was ranked the 422nd top college in the United States by Payscale and CollegeNet’s Social Mobility Index college rankings. Boston College is categorized as a research university with high research activity by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Students at the university earned 21 Fulbright Awards in 2012, ranking the school eighth among American research institutions. At $2.831 billion, Boston College has the 40th largest university endowment in North America, and the largest endowment of all Jesuit colleges and universities.
Boston College offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and doctoral degrees through its nine schools and colleges: Morrissey College of Arts & Sciences, Boston College Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Carroll School of Management, Lynch School of Education, Connell School of Nursing, Boston College Graduate School of Social Work, Boston College Law School, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, Woods College of Advancing Studies.
Boston College research articles from Innovation Toronto
- Researchers find rust can power up artificial photosynthesis
- Research Creates New Opportunities From Waste Heat
- A new form of carbon: Grossly warped ‘nanographene’
- An unlikely competitor for diamond as the best thermal conductor
- Photosynthesis Re-Wired: Chemists Use Nanowires to Power Photosynthesis-Like Process
- Exotic Material Boosts Electromagnetism Safely
- Solar-Thermal Flat-Panels That Generate Electric Power
- Highly efficient ‘nanocoax’ solar cell inspired by coaxial cable
- A Computer Per Student Leads to Higher Performance Than Traditional Classroom Settings
‘This unassisted water splitting, which is very rare, does not require expensive or scarce resources.’
Team reports first ‘unassisted’ water splitting using only hematite and silicon as solar absorbers,
Finding an efficient solar water splitting method to mine electron-rich hydrogen for clean power has been thwarted by the poor performance of hematite. But by ‘re-growing’ the mineral’s surface, a smoother version of hematite doubled electrical yield, opening a new door to energy-harvesting artificial photosynthesis, according to a report published online today in the journal Nature Communications.
Re-grown hematite proved to be a better power generating anode, producing a record low turn-on voltage that enabled the researchers to be the first to use earth-abundant hematite and silicon as the sole light absorbers in artificial photosynthesis, said Boston College associate professor of chemistry Dunwei Wang, a lead author of the report.
The new hydrogen harvesting process achieved an overall efficiency of 0.91 percent, a ‘modest’ mark in and of itself, but the first ‘meaningful efficiency ever measured by hematite and amorphous silicon, two of the most abundant elements on Earth,’ the team reported.
‘By simply smoothing the surface characteristics of hematite, this close cousin of rust can be improved to couple with silicon, which is derived from sand, to achieve complete water splitting for solar hydrogen generation,’ said Wang, whose research focuses on discovering new methods to generate clean energy. ‘This unassisted water splitting, which is very rare, does not require expensive or scarce resources.’
Wang said the findings represent an important step toward realizing the potential performance theoretical models have predicted for hematite, an iron oxide similar to rust.
‘This offers new hope that efficient and inexpensive solar fuel production by readily available natural resources is within reach,’ said Wang. ‘Getting there will contribute to a sustainable future powered by renewable energy.’
The team, which included researchers from Boston College, UC Berkeley and China’s University of Science and Technology, decided to focus on hematite’s surface imperfections, which have been found in earlier studies to limit ‘turn-on’ voltage required to jump-start photoelectrochemistry, the central process behind using artificial photosynthesis to capture and store solar energy in hydrogen gas.
The team re-evaluated hematite surface features using a synchrotron particle accelerator at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. They established a new ‘re-growth’ strategy that applied an acidic solution to the material under intense heat, a process that simultaneously reduced ridges and filled depressions, smoothing the surface.
Tests immediately showed an improvement in turn-on voltage, as well as an increase in photovoltage from 0.24 volts to 0.80 volts, a dramatic increase in power generation.
The team reported that further modifications to the new hematite-silicon method make it amenable to large-scale utilization. Furthermore, the ‘re-growth’ technique may be applicable to other materials under study for additional breakthroughs in artificial photosynthesis.