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Synthesis and Electrochemical Study of First Row Transition Metal Based Quantum Dot Electrocatalysts

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Title: Synthesis and Electrochemical Study of First Row Transition Metal Based Quantum Dot Electrocatalysts
Author: Cirone, Joseph
Department: Department of Chemistry
Program: Chemistry
Advisor: Aicheng, Chen
Abstract: This thesis is an investigation of simple synthetic pathways towards quantum dot based electrocatalysts and their activity towards water splitting reactions. It attempts to understand and describe the activity of quantum dot based electrocatalysts based on an increase in the number of active sites available and stabilization of reaction intermediates via changes to electronic structure. Characterization of these materials was performed using electron microscopy and spectroscopy (Raman, fluorescence, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy) and their activity towards water splitting was studied using electrochemical techniques (linear sweep voltammetry, chronoamperometry, chronopotentiometry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy). Chapter two of this thesis introduces the role of ascorbic acid in nanomaterial synthesis as this particular compound plays a key role in the synthetic methods used for forming quantum dots. The next two chapters demonstrate simple synthetic methods useful for production of first row transition metals based quantum dots using chemical reduction and hydrothermal synthesis. Very high current densities of 43.2 mA cm-2 and 34.4 mA cm-2 were observed for Co/graphene QDs and NiFe QDs for the oxygen evolution reaction. Furthermore, by changing the ratio of Ni to Fe, electrochemical activity was altered and a current density of -38.9 mA cm-2 was seen for the hydrogen evolution reaction. This work encompasses the first steps towards quantum dot based catalysts for electrochemical reactions.
Date: 2019-09
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