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. Considering the high amount of energy required for O2 production, the research focus needs to shift toward photoelectrochemical organic oxidation, to simultaneously drive reduction reactions (H2 generation) and produce other useful chemicals. Replacing water oxidation with the thermodynamically more feasible organic oxidation will both enable the degradation of organic waste products and improve the overall photoelectrochemical efficiency. While many studies have focused on improving photocathode material properties for the reduction reaction, this study aims to design an active photoanode composite material to promote the photoelectrochemical organic oxidation reaction and H2 generation.
The student will have the opportunity to work in Particles and Catalysis Research Group (PartCat) under the guidance of Prof. Jason Scott, Prof. Rose Amal and Dr. Cui Ying Toe. The student will have the access to well-equipped laboratories with experimental facilities for photoelectrocatalysis research. The student will work in a multidisciplinary research environment and learn various functional skills to facilitate future career in academic or industry.
The student is expected to gain experience in hands-on thin film preparations and modifications, characterizations and photoelectrochemical measurements. The project will also allow the student to work with other research students to gain valuable interdisciplinary experience. Continuing of the research as an 4th year honour thesis project is possible.