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The University of Southampton
Advanced Composite Materials Facility

Combinatorial synthesis and high throughput screening of perovskite electrocatalysts

Perovskite cell structure
Perovskite cell structure

The aim of this project is to investigate new electrocatalytic materials which can be employed to improve the efficiency of current fuel cell designs.

A particular focus is transition metal oxide materials with the perovskite structure which show activity towards the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and oxygen evolution reaction (OER) in alkali. These materials are therefore promising both as cathode materials for alkaline fuel cells and metal air batteries and as anodes in alkaline water electrolysis.

Thin film perovskite materials

Thin films of the perovskite materials will be prepared using high throughput physical vapour deposition (HT-PVD) and after characterisation the materials will be electrochemically screened using high-throughput techniques. In order to investigate the mechanism of the catalytic activity, single crystal studies will be conducted on the same perovskite system using an electrochemical transfer system in which the surface of the perovskite single crystal samples are characterised in ultra-high vacuum (UHV) prior to direct transfer to an electrochemical cell held under an inert atmosphere. UHV characterisation of the surfaces employs photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), low energy ion scattering spectroscopy (LEISS) and low energy electron diffraction (LEED) to allow determination of surface composition and structure which can then be related to any observed catalytic activity.

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