PhD Studentship Supported metal core – semiconducting shell nanostructured arrays for solar assisted photoelectrochemistry



Southampton, United Kingdom

This project aims to fabricate nanostructured anodes for the development of solar assisted electrolyzers for hydrogen production. Templated electrodeposition will be used to prepare metallic films with a defined structure at the nanometre scale. This nanostructure will provide a high electroactive area, maximize photon capture, increase utilization of solar energy and overall enhance the rate of water oxidation. With a more efficient photoanode the electrolyser will consume less electrical energy to produce hydrogen.

Several structures will be considered and key parameters assessed to determine optimal conditions. The structure, morphology and composition of the materials will be characterized with physical methods such as X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, photoelectron spectroscopy. The electrochemical performance will be assessed with electroanalytical techniques such as cyclic voltammetry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and modulated photocurrent spectroscopy. Experiments will be conducted with and without illumination to determine the photocurrent – voltage curves. Promising materials and structures will be identified and developed further to a larger scale appropriate for testing in pilot electrolyzers.

This project has the potential to make a significant contribution to the development of advanced solar-assisted electrolyzers towards hydrogen generation. While the research primarily involves nanotechnology, it underpins development into energy storage via hydrogen generation. The successful candidate will work in the Southampton Electrochemistry Group and experience advanced analytical and structural techniques used in electrochemistry and surface science.

Candidates will have a first class or upper second class degree (or its equivalent) in relevant disciplines, preferably Physics, Engineering, Instrumentation, Materials Science, Nanotechnology or Physical Chemistry.

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Due to funding restrictions, this position is available to EU/UK applicants only.

If you wish to discuss the project informally, please contact Dr Guy Denuault, Electrochemistry Group, School of Chemistry, [email protected].

Administrative contact and how to apply:

Please complete the University’s online application form, which you can find at:

https://studentrecords.soton.ac.uk/BNNRPROD/bzsksrch.P_Search

You should enter Dr G Denuault as your proposed supervisor.  Please direct any enquiries about this procedure to [email protected]

Closing Date:   Saturday 31 August 2013

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