Materials for electrochemical energy and sensing applications
Toh, Rou Jun
Date of Issue2017
School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
Singapore-MIT Alliance Programme
Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology
In our technology-driven society, constant and sustainable growth requires ongoing advancements in the fields of renewable energy and sensing. However, electrocatalysis of energy-related processes is impeded by the expensive state-of-the-art platinum-based catalysts, thus posing a challenge towards establishing a hydrogen economy. In sensing, a sensitive and selective detection platform towards point-of-care diagnostics is highly sought after. Consequently, this thesis, emphasised on the use of electrochemical methods, has identified three groups of functional materials: transition metal oxides (TMOs), graphene and transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), which offer advantageous properties for energy and sensing applications. In particular, TMOs and TMDs, being abundant in nature, also exhibit electrocatalytic activity towards the oxygen reduction reaction and hydrogen evolution reaction respectively. Aimed at the design and development of advanced electrocatalysts, the factors that may govern the electrocatalytic properties of TMOs and TMDs are investigated. Moreover, graphene and TMDs, recognised for their unique structural, physical and electronic properties, present opportunities to be explored for sensing applications. Unfortunately, graphene did not demonstrate any advantageous role in the sensing of haemoglobin. On the other hand, TMDs was successfully introduced as an electroactive label for protein detection, and as a platform for hydrogen peroxide determination – further established in lab-on-a-chip devices. The knowledge garnered and demonstrated applications would serve as a useful platform for future advancements in the usage of these materials for electrochemical energy and sensing applications.