Buried Treasure: Reappraisal and Repurposing of Ignored High Performance Electrode Materials

Research seminar abstract

The physical and molecular structure of the electrode underlies electrochemical charge transfer. Efficient charge transfer (kinetics) is a significant factor governing the performance in nearly all electrochemical systems, including fuel cells, Li-ion or redox flow batteries, chemical sensors, and solar fuels. In the development of new electrode materials there is a constant need to improve electrochemical kinetics and electrode stability, while lowering the cost. In this talk, low cost novel phthalocyanine and graphite-based materials for use in electrochemical applications ranging from dye sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) to electrochemical sensors are demonstrated. Polymeric tetraamino phthalocyanine catalyst are proposed for use as high performance cathodes in DSSCs, as well as general sensing applications. Additionally, new synthetic routes for creating conductive phthalocyanine polymer electrode coatings are demonstrated. Finally, an in-depth characterization of simple graphite and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) composite electrodes will be presented. Graphite:polymer composites, as one of many forms of composite electrodes, can suffer from low conductivity, poor electrochemical kinetics, and difficulty in fabrication of complex electrode geometries. By carefully controlling the composition and developing an in-depth understanding of factors ranging from carbon type to surface pretreatment method, the PMMA composites are found to have a high conductivity, and contain kinetics similar to that of more exotic carbons such as graphene and carbon nanotubes. The composites are readily molded using hot embossing, and complex electrodes are easily made using a solvent assisted templating technique. Overall, the simple PMMA:graphite electrodes represent a significant step forward towards the facile use of carbon composite electrodes for generic applications.

Division(s): Materials

Speaker: Kevin Klunder

Speaker Institution: Colorado State University

Event Date: 04-21-2017

Event Time: 4:00 PM

Event Location: Chemistry A101

Mixer Time: 3:45 PM

Mixer Location: Chemistry B101E

Host: C. Henry