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Nanoparticle-based electrodes for sustainable energy

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Solar energy has the potential to meet global power needs but current methods to capture and use solar energy are expensive and inefficient. The feasibility of large-scale solar energy use will be greatly improved by devices that economically convert solar energy to chemical energy and by devices that convert chemical energy to electrical energy. I have begun a systematic exploration into the self-assembly of nanoparticle-based materials that will likely play a central role as electrodes in these devices. From these studies, a number of fascinating electrode morphologies have emerged that provide insight into the structure-property relationships that guide device design. In this presentation, I explore: (1) fuel cell electrodes that are self-assembled using designed interactions between nanoparticles and block copolymers, (2) a new analytical technique that provides insight into the highest performing metal oxide photoanodes for solar water splitting, and (3) a new class of materials termed “nanoparticle electrides” that are derived from ligand-stabilized nanoparticles in which the emission of unpaired electrons from the nanoparticles dramatically influences the material’s electronic and magnetic properties.

This talk is part of the BSS Formal Seminars series.

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