Electrified Interfaces at the Nanometer Scale( I )

Project Details


In situ scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and attenuated total reflectance infraredspectroscopy (ATRIR) coupled with electrochemistry will be used to explore the well-definedelectrified interfaces, which have important ramifications in electrocatalysis, electrodeposition,electropolymerization etc. The development of fuel cells has been one of the most important aspectsin electrocatalysis involves lie in the redox reactions at electrocatalyst to convert chemical energy toelectricity and produce only water in the end. Thus it is considered as one of the ultimate source ofclean energy. To reduce the loading of expensive platinum, the best electrocatalyst in the anode andcathode of fuel cells, it is proposed here to use a monolayer of Pt adatoms supported by other lessexpensive metallic materials. This study will address the preparative method of the Pt monolayerand characterize its electrocatalytic activity toward oxygen reduction reaction, methanol oxidation,formic acid oxidation etc.Electrodeposition of copper, nickel, and cobalt has been important in the modern semiconductorprocessing. As the dimension of features in the silicon chips becomes smaller with time,metallization to fabricate interconnects in electronic devices has been considered as an art, ratherthan the science. Due to the poor knowledge of interfacial chemistry, electroplating could bedifficult to track and manipulate. Here it is proposed that by using scanning probes and vibrationalspectroscopy one can obtain insights into the details in the electrodeposition process. In particular,the aspect of adsorption of surfactants needed to realize “superconformal” electroplating isexamined. For example, polyethylene glycol (PEG), a blocking regent for Cu deposition, adsorbedon gold electrode will be studied. Although PEG is needed in the Cu plating bath, its operationmechanism has been unclear. Researchers have not agreed upon the role of chloride anions. Despitesome studies have claimed that PEG molecules cannot be imaged by STM, we have obtainedpreliminary results showing that PEG could be imaged under some conditions. Meanwhile, someorganic molecules such as bis-3-sodiumsulfopropyl-disulfide (SPS) and mercaptopropanic sulfonicacid (MPS) are needed to accelerate the rate of Cu deposition. Again the details of the act ofpromotion have been not inconsistent among researchers. These issues are important to the futuresemiconductor processing technology, which has been the most industry to support livelihood ofmillion Taiwanese. For deposition of Ni and Co, they are used to fabricate switches and magneticfilms. Modern electroplating technology is needed to precise control of thickness, structure,morphology of Ni and Co films. These features can be realized only under the thoroughunderstanding of electrodeposition, which has been lacking so far.
Effective start/end date1/08/1631/07/17

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


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