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Dr R C Evans

Electrochemical materials play critical roles in diverse fields of healthcare, energy, environmental protection, security and consumer electronics. They are typically used in electrochemical devices that either generate electrical energy from a chemical reaction (e.g. a battery during discharge) or facilitate a chemical reaction (e.g. electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen) through the application of electricity. In this course, we will explore the materials, mechanism and applications of key electrochemical devices we encounter in our everyday (or future!) lives: batteries, fuel cells, photoelectrochemical cells and sensors. Attention will be paid to understanding the chemical reactions occurring at interfaces in these devices.

This course builds upon the basic understanding of electrochemical reactions developed in the Part IB Materials Chemistry course.

This lecture course will cover:

Batteries: primary lithium cells; secondary lead acid and alkaline cells; rechargeable lithium cells; supercapacitors.

Fuel cells: solid polymer fuel cells; solid oxide fuel cells; biofuel cells

Photoelectrochemical cells: p-type photocathodes; n-type photoanodes; photoelectrochemical splitting of water – “the artificial leaf”, photoelectrochemical reduction of CO2.

Sensors: gas sensors; wearable electronics.

For each device, we will consider the chemical properties of the materials used, the chemical reactions occurring at the interfaces, figures-of-merit for device performance and fabrication challenges for cell miniaturisation.