Hydrogen technologies are viewed as one of key component of renewable energy sources. To make the technologies ubiquitous and affordable, issues with catalyst stability and activity ought to be addressed. Development of water electrolyzers and fuel cells operating in alkaline medium might be a way to solve these issues. However, hydrogen evolution/oxidation (HER/HOR) in alkaline medium is sluggish which hampers performance. Advanced catalyst structures as highly dispersed catalysts with high surface atoms/bulk atoms ratio can dramatically improve catalyst activity yet provide important insights on reaction mechanisms.
The goal of the doctoral work is to study activity and structure of highly dispersed catalyst systems prepared by magnetron sputtering and electrodeposition techniques, using classical and in-operando techniques as near ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (NAP-XPS), electron microscopies (SEM, TEM), rotating (ring) disk electrodes (R(R)DE). Catalyst systems will include various metal (Ni, Ti, Pd, Ru, etc.) metal oxides (CeO2, TiO2, RuO2, etc.) as support and finely dispersed platinum group metals (PGMs) and PGM-free d-metals (Cu, Ti, Ni, Fe, etc.) Current work aims at finding morphology/activity relationship, understanding reaction mechanisms and pathways, which beneficial for development new generation of HER/HOR catalyst.