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Investigation of charge transport/transfer and charge storage at mesoporous TiO2 electrodes in aqueous electrolytes

Abstract : Better understanding of the mechanisms of charge transport/transfer and charge storage in transparent mesoporous semiconductive metal oxide films (either functionalized or not by redox-active chromophores) in aqueous electrolytes is of fundamental importance for the development and optimization of a wide range of safe, eco-compatible and sustainable energy producing or energy storage devices (e.g., dye-sensitized solar cells, batteries, photoelectrocatalytic cells, …). To address this question, mesoporous semiconductive TiO2 films prepared by glancing angle deposition (GLAD-TiO2) were selected for their unique high surface area, well-controlled morphology, high transparency in the visible, and well-defined semiconductivity that can be easily adjusted through an external bias, allowing thus their characterization by real-time spectroelectrochemistry. We first investigated charge transfer/transport at GLAD-ITO and GLAD-TiO2 electrodes functionalized by a redox-active manganese porphyrin that can play both the role of chromophore and catalyst. We demonstrate that the electrochemical response of the modified electrodes, recorded either in the absence or presence of O2 as substrate, is strongly dependent on the mesoporous film conductivity. By using cyclic voltammetry coupled to UV-visible absorption spectroscopy, we were able to recover some key information such as the heterogeneous electron transfer rate between the immobilized redox-active dye and the semiconductive material, and also to rationalize the specific electrochemical behavior obtained at a porphyrin-modified GLAD TiO2 film under catalytic turnover. In parallel, we developed a new functionalization procedure of mesoporous metal oxide films (GLAD-ITO in the present case) by electrografting of in-situ generated aryldiazonium salts, allowing for modified electrodes characterized by both a high surface coverage and a particularly good stability over time under hydrolytic conditions. Also, we investigated charge storage at GLAD-TiO2 electrodes under various aqueous electrolytic conditions. We notably evidenced for the first time that fast, massive, and reversible insertion of protons can occur in amorphous nanostructured TiO2 films immersed in near neutral aqueous buffer, with the proton donor being the weak acid form of the buffer but not water. We also demonstrated that this proton-coupled electron charge storage process can occur over the entire range of pH and for a wide range of organic or inorganic weak acids, but also of multivalent metal ion aquo complexes, as long as the applied potential and pKa of weak acid are properly adjusted.
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Submitted on : Thursday, December 12, 2019 - 1:42:08 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-02407183, version 1

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Yee Seul Kim. Investigation of charge transport/transfer and charge storage at mesoporous TiO2 electrodes in aqueous electrolytes. Other. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018USPCC161⟩. ⟨tel-02407183⟩

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