Betalains are versatile natural pigments that has been used for the synthesis of metallic (NPs) and carbon (C-dot) nanoparticles. These secondary metabolites have also been found to interact with semiconducting nanoparticles and composites and to delay electron-hole recombination via the proton-coupled electron transfer (PCET) mechanism. In this research placement project, we propose to exploit the potential of betalains to produce efficient plasmonic photocatalysts and to determine if the properties of betalains influence the characteristics of the C-dots derived thereof. These studies will be carried out over a one-year period at the University of Uppsala under the supervision of Prof. Jacinto Sá. The dynamics of electron and energy transfer involving betalamic acid, the biosynthetic precursor of betalains, and four model betalainic compounds will be investigated by ultrafast laser spectroscopy. Depending on the results, the effect of betalain-based nanostructured materials in artificial photosynthesis will be evaluated.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: