Molecular Level Understanding of Electrocatalysis in High pH Environment
Technical Report,10 May 2009,09 Nov 2013
Northeastern University Boston United States
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This effort involved the synthesis of novel electrocatalysts for both anodic oxidation of complex fuels especially directed towards facile breakage of C-C bond and cathodic oxygen reduction reaction in alkaline environment for intended application in alkaline anion exchange membrane fuel cell. This was facilitated by an array of electrochemical and spectroscopic investigations. This project provides a holistic understanding of the anion exchange ionomer interaction with the electrocatalyst of choice from the point of view of double layer and the operating potential. Among the principle contributions made in this project are 1 Unified mechanism of electrocatalysis at an alkaline electrolyte interface, with detailed activity descriptors defining the structure of active site required for concerted inner sphere four electron reduction of oxygen. 2 Provided details on interfacial interactions of anion exchange membrane ionic exchange site and choice ofelectrocatalysts. 3 Initiation of a new initiative for advancing fundamental understanding of plasmonic enhancement of charge transfer at an electrochemical interface. Initial preliminary data proves this concept to be true and highly sensitive to the generation of surface plasmons and quantum confinement in nano-particles such as Au.