Description of field of research:

Over the past decade, the transition to renewable clean energy has been increasingly viewed as crucial to meet the rising global energy demand in a sustainable manner. With Australia receiving the highest solar radiation per area globally, photoelectrocatalysis offers an opportunity to secure the direct conversion of solar energy into a usable form of chemical energy (i.e., H2). Despite the advantages of photoelectrochemical water splitting (i.e., H2 and O2 generation), the anodic water oxidation reaction continues to be the limiting step which restricts practical application due to its sluggish reaction kinetics and high charge-recombination.

In this research, a multiferroic is used as photoanode material due to its prominent and unique ferroelectric properties which could be polarized by external electrical field. The existence of the built-in electric field can provide a driving force for the transport of photo-induced charges, thus enhancing the charge separation. Moreover, the anodic water oxidation reaction will be replaced by organic oxidation which is thermodynamically more feasible that will improve the overall photoelectrochemical efficiency.

Continuing the research as a 4th-year honour thesis project is possible.

Research Area

Material Synthesis | Catalysis

The student will have the opportunity to work in the Particles and Catalysis Research Group (PartCat) and the ARC Global Hydrogen Economy Training Centre (GlobH2E) with well-equipped laboratories and experimental facilities for photoelectrocatalysis research under the guidance of A/Prof. Jason Scott.

The student will work in a multidisciplinary research environment with opportunity to learn various functional skills (i.e., professional development, outreach work, and mentoring) to facilitate future career in academic or industry.

The student is expected to gain experience in hands-on thin film preparations, ferroelectric modifications, characterizations and photoelectrochemical measurements. The project will also allow the student to work with other research students to gain valuable interdisciplinary experience.

Continuing the research as a 4th-year honour thesis project is possible.