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Electrocatalytic water splitting with ruthenium nanoparticles

Abstract : The study of nanoparticulate systems for the hydrogen evolution (HER) and oxygen evolution (OER) reactions allows to rationally developing new catalysts that enhance the water splitting process for obtaining H2, and thus making it a suitable alternative to fossil fuels as energy carriers. Nowadays Pt and Ir are the leading metals in HE and OE catalysts, respectively, but a huge effort is being devoted to understand the mechanistic pathways that rule both semi-reactions in order to transfer the knowledge to other metals which can be more abundant and thus cheaper. Ru appears as a feasible alternative to deeply explore the reaction steps involved in the process, because it is a highly- versatile metal which shows similar activities than Pt/Ir and which can be studied by a wide range of analytical techniques as a result of its properties. In addition, Ru is four times cheaper than the state-of-the-art Pt. The development of precisely controlled nanocatalysts for their application in challenging catalysis like the production of H2 by water-splitting lies among our research interests. This PhD work aims to develop Ru-based nanocatalysts for both HER and OER, and study the characteristics that induce a specific catalytic response. The use of the organometallic approach as synthetic methodology allows to finely controlling the properties of the NPs, e.g. size, surface environment, dispersion, etc. In this synthetic procedure, organic ligands can be added as stabilizing agents to halt the nucleation of metal atoms leading to the formation of the nanosized systems. These ligands can alter the chemical properties of the surface of the nanoparticles, a key feature in the catalytic processes. This methodology allows as well the preparation of metal nanoparticles onto the surface of solid supports.
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Jordi Creus Casanovas. Electrocatalytic water splitting with ruthenium nanoparticles. Coordination chemistry. Université Paul Sabatier - Toulouse III; Universitat autònoma de Barcelona, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018TOU30082⟩. ⟨tel-02121410⟩

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