Instytut Podstawowych Problemów Techniki
Polskiej Akademii Nauk


Katharina Brinkert

University of Warwick (GB)

Ostatnie publikacje
1.  Akay Ö., Poon J., Robertson C., Abdi F., Cuenya B.R., Giersig M., Brinkert K., Releasing the Bubbles: Nanotopographical Electrocatalyst Design for Efficient Photoelectrochemical Hydrogen Production in Microgravity Environment, Advanced science, ISSN: 2198-3844, DOI: 10.1002/advs.202105380, No.2105380, pp.1-11, 2021

Photoelectrochemical devices integrate the processes of light absorption, charge separation, and catalysis for chemical synthesis. The monolithic design is interesting for space applications, where weight and volume constraints predominate. Hindered gas bubble desorption and the lack of macroconvection processes in reduced gravitation, however, limit its application in space. Physico-chemical modifications of the electrode surface are required to induce gas bubble desorption and ensure continuous device operation. A detailed investigation of the electrocatalyst nanostructure design for light-assisted hydrogen production in microgravity environment is described. p-InP coated with a rhodium (Rh) electrocatalyst layer fabricated by shadow nanosphere lithography is used as a model device. Rh is deposited via physical vapor deposition (PVD) or photoelectrodeposition through a mask of polystyrene (PS) particles. It is observed that the PS sphere size and electrocatalyst deposition technique alter the electrode surface wettability significantly, controlling hydrogen gas bubble detachment and photocurrent–voltage characteristics. The highest, most stable current density of 37.8 mA cm−2 is achieved by depositing Rh via PVD through 784 nm sized PS particles. The increased hydrophilicity of the photoelectrode results in small gas bubble contact angles and weak frictional forces at the solid–gas interface which cause enhanced gas bubble detachment and enhanced device efficiency.

Słowa kluczowe:
electrocatalyst nanotopography, hydrogen evolution, microgravity, photoelectrocatalysis, (photo-)electrochemical gas bubble evolution, shadow nanosphere lithography

Afiliacje autorów:
Akay Ö. - Free University of Berlin (DE)
Poon J. - Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society (DE)
Robertson C. - University of Warwick (GB)
Abdi F. - Institute for Solar Fuels, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (DE)
Cuenya B.R. - Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society (DE)
Giersig M. - IPPT PAN
Brinkert K. - University of Warwick (GB)
2.  Brinkert K., Akay Ö., Richter M.H., Liedtke J., Fountaine K.T., Lewerenz H-J., Giersig M., Experimental methods for efficient solar hydrogen production in microgravity environment, Journal of Visualized Experiments, ISSN: 1940-087X, DOI: 10.3791/59122, Vol.154, pp.e59122-1-9, 2019

Long-term space flights and cis-lunar research platforms require a sustainable and light life-support hardware which can be reliably employed outside the Earth's atmosphere. So-called 'solar fuel' devices, currently developed for terrestrial applications in the quest for realizing a sustainable energy economy on Earth, provide promising alternative systems to existing air-revitalization units employed on the International Space Station (ISS) through photoelectrochemical water-splitting and hydrogen production. One obstacle for water (photo-) electrolysis in reduced gravity environments is the absence of buoyancy and the consequential, hindered gas bubble release from the electrode surface. This causes the formation of gas bubble froth layers in proximity to the electrode surface, leading to an increase in ohmic resistance and cell-efficiency loss due to reduced mass transfer of substrates and products to and from the electrode. Recently, we have demonstrated efficient solar hydrogen production in microgravity environment, using an integrated semiconductor-electrocatalyst system with p-type indium phosphide as the light-absorber and a rhodium electrocatalyst. By nanostructuring the electrocatalyst using shadow nanosphere lithography and thereby creating catalytic 'hot spots' on the photoelectrode surface, we could overcome gas bubble coalescence and mass transfer limitations and demonstrated efficient hydrogen production at high current densities in reduced gravitation. Here, the experimental details are described for the preparations of these nanostructured devices and further on, the procedure for their testing in microgravity environment, realized at the Bremen Drop Tower during 9.3 s of free fall.

Słowa kluczowe:
chemistry, issue 154, solar fuels, hydrogen, microgravity, photoelectrocatalysis, drop tower, shadow nanosphere lithography, semiconductor-electrocatalyst systems

Afiliacje autorów:
Brinkert K. - University of Warwick (GB)
Akay Ö. - inna afiliacja
Richter M.H. - inna afiliacja
Liedtke J. - inna afiliacja
Fountaine K.T. - inna afiliacja
Lewerenz H-J. - inna afiliacja
Giersig M. - inna afiliacja

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