Electrocatalysis at Single Crystal Electrodes( I )

Project Details


It is no doubt that earth has suffered from the excessive uses of fossil fuels for decades, causing severe and irreversible damages to the environment and weather of this planet. To find new energy sources for the future to replace the conventional fossil fuel is an urgent issue. Solar cells and fuel cells are identified as two of most feasible candidates for the future. In particular, hydrogen is recognized as the cleanest fuel. Also, hydrogen is produced traditionally by gas water shift reaction, which can be contaminated with carbon monoxide. Recently, it is shown the electrolysis of water can produce hydrogen in acidic and basic electrolytes. This idea has been pursued for several decades and some promising results are reported. For having a stable operation of these cells, it is inevitable to have noble transition metals such as Pt as the catalyst at the anode and cathode. The scarcity and high cost of Pt could lead to unaffordable cells. Besides pure Pt catalyst might not be the optimal choice of the needed catalyst. In contrast, non-precious metals such as Cu and Ni can be used as the catalyst in a basic environment, but the overpotentials of the desired reactions can be higher, leading to poorer efficiency in the conversion from electrochemical to chemical form of energy. Many methods have been used to probe the interfacial processes of electrolysis of water to hydrogen and oxygen. From the fundamental perspective, the key issue in the fundamentals of all research has been the need to understand the reactive sites of these reactions on the electrode. This subject needed to be approached by techniques capable of obtaining information in the course of reaction or in the “operando” conditions. Arguably, only a few techniques are possible to work under these conditions, including Raman spectroscopy and X-ray absorption spectroscopy. Meanwhile, scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) has been used to extensively study the electrified interface, particularly platinum under various conditions. Here it is proposed that STM imaging is used to reveal the structural aspects of Pt and other relevant electrodes in electrocatalysis.
Effective start/end date1/08/2031/07/21

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 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


  • single crystal electrode
  • electrocatalysis
  • hydrogen evolution reaction
  • oxygen evolution reaction
  • platinum
  • copper titanium alloy
  • iron cobalt electrodeposition


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