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Applications of Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy (SECM) Coupled to Atomic Force Microscopy with Sub-Micrometer Spatial Resolution to the Development and Discovery of Electrocatalysts

  • Park, Hyun S. (Fuel Cell Research Center, Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST)) ;
  • Jang, Jong Hyun (Fuel Cell Research Center, Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST))
  • Received : 2016.08.05
  • Accepted : 2016.09.19
  • Published : 2016.12.31

Abstract

Development and discovery of efficient, cost-effective, and robust electrocatalysts are imperative for practical and widespread implementation of water electrolysis and fuel cell techniques in the anticipated hydrogen economy. The electrochemical reactions involved in water electrolysis, i.e., hydrogen and oxygen evolution reactions, are complex inner-sphere reactions with slow multi-electron transfer kinetics. To develop active electrocatalysts for water electrolysis, the physicochemical properties of the electrode surfaces in electrolyte solutions should be investigated and understood in detail. When electrocatalysis is conducted using nanoparticles with large surface areas and active surface states, analytical techniques with sub-nanometer resolution are required, along with material development. Scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM) is an electrochemical technique for studying the surface reactions and properties of various types of electrodes using a very small tip electrode. Recently, the morphological and chemical characteristics of single nanoparticles and bio-enzymes for catalytic reactions were studied with nanometer resolution by combining SECM with atomic force microscopy (AFM). Herein, SECM techniques are briefly reviewed, including the AFM-SECM technique, to facilitate further development and discovery of highly active, cost-effective, and robust electrode materials for efficient electrolysis and photolysis.

Acknowledgement

Supported by : Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP), National Research Foundation of Korea

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