Hydrogen could replace fossil fuels, and electrolytic water splitting using renewable energy sources is a promising way to obtain it. The most active hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) electrocatalysts to date are platinum group metals (PGM), mainly Pt and its alloys, deposited onto a carbon support. Pt is however costly and the catalysts degrade over time, due to aggregation of metal nanoparticles over the support. Also, no valuable contenders to Pt group metals have been identified for the alkaline HER. To address these issues, we propose to focus again on PGM based catalysts, but with solutions that reduce the amount of noble metal and that ensure catalyst stability by preventing aggregation.
Advancing the Study of Chemical, Structural and Surface Transformations in Colloidal Nanocrystals.
This project embarks on an ambitious investigation of post-synthetic transformations in solution-grown NCs: by advancing the understanding of various aspects of chemical, structural and surface transformation of NCs, we will uncover new fabrication techniques that will employ such nanostructures as the key ingredients. This in turn will have a strong impact in nanoelectronics, as several electronic components entirely made of NCs will be delivered.
Assembly of Colloidal Nanocrystals into Unconventional Types of Nanocomposite Architectures with Advanced Properties.
The unconventional assembly of nanocrystals towards functional materials is the area where this project aims at providing a key contribution. The main objectives are: i) the advanced synthesis of nanoscale building blocks; ii) the assembly of these building blocks into superstructures in solution and on substrates using a novel nano-soldering approach; iii) The structural, mechanical, collective transport and catalytic study of these ensembles.