he Physics of Complex Fluids PCF
, aims to provide fundamental understanding of the physical and chemical properties of solid-liquid interfaces in the context of a variety of application areas including wetting, friction and lubrication, carbonate mineralization, and photo- and electrocatalysis.
In the latter context, the present PhD project focuses on AFM-based spectroscopy to characterize the interfaces between electrolyte, semiconductor- and cocatalyst-nanoparticles under photocatalytic operating conditions (i.e. in liquid, under applied bias and illumination) and to establish correlations between local surface properties such as atomic scale structure, charge density, and hydration and the resulting photocatalytic activity. To elucidate the catalytic performance at the nanoscale, conductive and electrochemical AFM will be used. These methods should reveal correlations between topographic and catalytic activity via current mapping, and identify the underlying charge transport mechanism via local IV-spectroscopy. Using this suite of AFM-based methods, the ultimate goal of the project is to generate insights how nanoscale surface properties affect the overall catalytic performance of photo/electrochemically active catalytic nanoparticles.
This information should eventually provide guidance in the development of novel more efficient materials for the desired redox reactions, such as water splitting or CO2 reduction.
An impression of the general approach can be found in this recent article