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Self-organization processes to pattern thin films: A bottom-up approach for photoelectrodes

English title Self-organization processes to pattern thin films: A bottom-up approach for photoelectrodes
Applicant Toth Rita
Number 139698
Funding scheme Marie Heim-Voegtlin grants
Research institution Abteilung für Hochleistungskeramik Eidg. Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt (EMPA)
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology - EMPA
Main discipline Physical Chemistry
Start/End 01.02.2012 - 31.01.2015
Approved amount 133'902.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Physical Chemistry
Material Sciences
Mathematics

Keywords (9)

self-organization; electrohydrodynamic; pattern; photoelectrochemical; mesostructure; reaction-diffusion; precipitation; bottom-up; Liesegang

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

The objective of this Marie Heim-Vögtlin project is to investigate self-organisation processes for the design of structured/patterned materials with application to the energy sector, for example photoelectrodes for solar water splitting. Solar energy driven splitting of water by heterogeneous photocatalysts is a promising green technology for hydrogen fuel production and can be obtained in a single step process in photoelectrochemical cells. Nanostructured materials as electrodes perform better than planar electrodes, therefore, adding structure to the material is of great interest.

The conventional methods to nanostructure materials are the so called 'top-down' techniques, where structures are produced by removing parts of the material, i.e. lithography methods. Recently considerable attention has been devoted to the so called ‘bottom-up’ techniques where the structure is spontaneously
built from building blocks using self-organization/self-assembly techniques. Reaction-diffusion-precipitation processes are very promising candidates for building complex
structures because the location of the self-organised chemical pattern is locked once it is formed. Another promising self-organization process is the formation of ordered nanopillar arrays in a very thin layer of molten polymer driven by electrohydrodynamic  instability. The advantage of this technique is that it does not require a template with relief pattern because the pillars form spontaneously. 

New research on self-organizing systems is combined with nanoscale materials science in this project. Mixed metal self-organized planar microstructures and core-shell nanopillar arrays is synthesised. The structures is transfered to ceramic systems and photoelectrochemical characterisation is performed. Results from structural and morphological studies enable us to understand the mechanism of the formation of these structures and develope a model.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Marangoni Flow Driven Maze Solving
Suzuno Kohta, Ueyama Daishin, Branicki Michal, Toth Rita, Braun Artur, Lagzi Istvan (2017), Marangoni Flow Driven Maze Solving, in Adamatzky Andrew (ed.), Springer International Publishing, Swizerland, 237-243.
Hematite photoanode co-functionalized with self-assemblingmelanin and C-phycocyanin for solar water splitting at neutral pH
Schrantz Krisztina, Wyss P. Pradeep, Ihssen Julian, Toth Rita, Bora K. Debajeet, Vitol A. Elina, Rozhkova A. Elena, Pieles Uwe, Thöny-Meyer Linda, Braun Artur (2017), Hematite photoanode co-functionalized with self-assemblingmelanin and C-phycocyanin for solar water splitting at neutral pH, in Catalysis Today, 284, 44-51.
A self-assembled, multicomponent water oxidation device
R. Tóth R.M. WalliserN.S. MurrayD. K. BoraA BraunG. FortunatoC.E. HousecroftE.C. Constable (2016), A self-assembled, multicomponent water oxidation device, in Chemical Communications, 52, 2940-2943.
Facile Nonpolar Organic Solution - Process to Nanostructure Hematite Photoanode with High Efficiency and Stability for Water Splitting
Wang Jian-Jun, Hu Yelin, Toth Rita, Fortunato Giuseppino, Braun Artur (2016), Facile Nonpolar Organic Solution - Process to Nanostructure Hematite Photoanode with High Efficiency and Stability for Water Splitting, in Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 4(8), 2821-2825.
Probing the mystery of Liesegang band formation: revealing the origin of self-organized dual-frequency micro and nanoparticle arrays
Tóth Rita, M. Walliser Roche, Lagzi István, Boudoire Florent, Düggelin Marcel, Braun Artur, E. Housecroft Catherine, C. Constable Edwin (2016), Probing the mystery of Liesegang band formation: revealing the origin of self-organized dual-frequency micro and nanoparticle arrays, in Soft Matter, 12(40), 8367-8374.
Understanding the formation of aligned, linear arrays of Ag nanoparticles
R. Toth R.M. Walliser I. Lagzi D. Mathys L. Marot A. Braun C.E. Catherine E.C. Constable (2016), Understanding the formation of aligned, linear arrays of Ag nanoparticles, in RSC Advances, 12(40), 8367--8374.
Growth of Nanoparticles and Microparticles by Controlled Reaction-Diffusion Processes
Walliser M. Roche, Boudoire Florent, Orosz Eszter, Toth Rita, Braun Artur, Constable C. Edwin, Racz Zoltan, Lagzi Istvan (2015), Growth of Nanoparticles and Microparticles by Controlled Reaction-Diffusion Processes, in Langmuir, 31(5), 1828-1834.
Maze solving using temperature-induced Marangoni flow
Lovass Petra, Branicki Michal, Toth Rita, Braun Artur, Suzuno Kohta, Ueyama Daishin, Lagzi Istvan (2015), Maze solving using temperature-induced Marangoni flow, in RSC Advances , 5(60), 48563--48568.
Hematite nanostructuring using electrohydrodynamic lithography
Boudoire Florent, Toth Rita, Heier Jakob, Braun Artur, Constable Edwin C. (2014), Hematite nanostructuring using electrohydrodynamic lithography, in APPLIED SURFACE SCIENCE, 305, 62-66.
Maze solving using fatty acid chemistry
Suzuno Kohta, Ueyama Daishin, Branicki Michal, Tóth Rita, Braun Artur, Lagzi István (2014), Maze solving using fatty acid chemistry, in Langmuir, 30(31), 9251-9255.
Photonic light trapping in self-organized all-oxide microspheroids impacts photoelectrochemical water splitting
Boudoire Florent, Toth Rita, Heier Jakob, Braun Artur, Constable Edwin C. (2014), Photonic light trapping in self-organized all-oxide microspheroids impacts photoelectrochemical water splitting, in ENERGY & ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE, 7(8), 2680-2688.
Between photocatalysis and photosynthesis: Synchrotron spectroscopy methods on molecules and materials for solar hydrogen generation
Bora Debajeet K., Hu Yelin, Thiess Sebastian, Erat Selma, Feng Xuefei, Mukherjee Sumanta, Fortunato Giuseppino, Gaillard Nicolas, Toth Rita, Gajda-Schrantz Krisztina, Drube Wolfgang, Graetzel Michael, Guo Jinghua, Zhu Junfa, Constable Edwin C., Sarma D. D., Wang Hongxin, Braun Artur (2013), Between photocatalysis and photosynthesis: Synchrotron spectroscopy methods on molecules and materials for solar hydrogen generation, in JOURNAL OF ELECTRON SPECTROSCOPY AND RELATED PHENOMENA, 190, 93-105.
Self-organised microdots formed by dewetting in a highly volatile liquid
Toth Rita, Heier Jakob, Tisserant Jean-Nicolas, Anna Enyedy Eva, Braun Artur, Graule Thomas (2012), Self-organised microdots formed by dewetting in a highly volatile liquid, in JOURNAL OF COLLOID AND INTERFACE SCIENCE, 378, 201-209.
Künstliche Intelligenz aus dem Chemiereaktor
Artur Braun Rita Toth Istvan Lagzi, Künstliche Intelligenz aus dem Chemiereaktor, in Nachrichten aus der Chemie (Chemie und Computer), GdCH.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Dr. Schrantz, Szeged University Hungary (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Prof. Enyedy, Szeged University Hungary (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Dr. Heier, Empa, Functional Polymers Laboratory Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Lagzi, Budapest University of Technology and Economics Hungary (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Constable, Basel University Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
5th International Conference on Multifunctional, Hybrid and Nanomaterials Talk given at a conference Liesegang formation of aligned, linear arrays of Ag nanoparticles; Nanostructured electrocatalysts for hydrogen generation 06.03.2017 Lisbon Congress Centre, Portugal, Portugal Toth Rita;
SwissPEC Poster Electrocatalysts for Hydrogen Generation 11.11.2016 EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland Toth Rita;
6th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC Davos 2016 Poster Safe And Decentralized Solar Hydrogen Fuel Production And Storage For Residential Building And Mobility Applications 28.08.2016 Davos, Switzerland Toth Rita;
Swiss Nanoconvention Poster Understanding the formation of aligned, linear arrays of Ag nanoparticles 30.06.2016 Basel, Switzerland Toth Rita;
Swiss Nanoconvention Poster Light Management in Nanostructured Water Splitting Photoanodes 21.05.2014 Brugg Windisch, Switzerland Toth Rita;
Swiss Nanoconvention Poster Mechanism of Pattern Formation in Liesegang Rings: Synchrotron Experiments and Mathematical Modelling 23.05.2013 Messe Basel Congress & Exhibition center, Basel, Switzerland Toth Rita;
SAOG - Swiss Working Group for Surface and Interface Science Poster The Origin of Primary and Secondary Patterns in Liesegang Rings: Synchrotron STXM Experiments supported by Mathematical Model 25.01.2013 University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland Toth Rita;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Reflections on Innovation German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Media relations: radio, television Chemisches Navi: Seifenlauge weist den Weg Deutschlandfunk International 2014
Media relations: print media, online media De l’hydrogéne produit avec un œil de mite artificiel. Le Monde, newspaper article International 2014
Media relations: radio, television Des petites betes alliées de la science. CQFD radio broadcast on RTS (Radio Télévision Suisse) RTS (Radio Télévision Suisse) Western Switzerland 2014
Media relations: print media, online media L’oeil de mite,un piège à lumière LA LIBERTÉ International 2014
Media relations: print media, online media Moleküle finden den kürzesten weg Technology Review, newspaper article International 2014
Media relations: print media, online media Navi aus dem Reagenzglas Focus, newspaper article International 2014
Media relations: print media, online media Tiny balls of fire: How to gather more light for solar power. The Economist, newspaper article International 2014

Awards

Title Year
Rita Toth, Florent Boudoire, Artur Braun, Edwin C. Constable and Jakob Heier listed among the Top 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2014, Foreign Policy, Leading Global Thinkers of 2014, November 17, 2014, Washington. 2014
1st Place Oral Presentation Award at Empa PhD symposium for Florent Boudoire 2012

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
137868 Reaction-diffusion processes for the growth of patterned structures and architectures: A bottom-up approach for photoelectrochemical electrodes 01.03.2012 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

The objective of this Marie Heim-Vögtlin (MHV) project is to investigate self-organisation processes for the design of structured and patterned materials with application to energy sector, for example photoelectrodes for solar water splitting. My MHV project is related to a joint project between Empa and University of Basel (SNF # 200021-137868 “Reaction-diffusion processes for the growth of patterned structures and architectures: A bottom-up approach for photoelectrochemical electrodes”), in which I’m critically involved (as a co-PI). The MHV project is an application for my salary during the aforementioned SNF project. My first two years would be funded from the MHV subsidy (50 % employment), and Empa pledges to continue my employment for the 3rd year at a 100% level.The conventional methods to nanostructure materials are the so called 'top-down' techniques, where structures are produced by fabricating the material by removing parts of it, i.e. lithography methods. Recently considerable attention has been devoted to the so called ‘bottom-up’ techniques where the structure is spontaneously built from building blocks using self-organization/self-assembly techniques. Reaction-diffusion-precipitation processes (e.g. Liesegang pattern (LP), [Liesegang 1896]) are very promising candidates for building complex structures because the location of the self-organised chemical pattern is locked once it is formed. Another promising self-organization process is the formation of ordered nanopillar arrays in a very thin layer of molten polymer [Schäffer 2000-2002] driven by electrohydrodynamic (EHD) instability. The advantage of this technique is that it does not require a template with relief pattern because the pillars form spontaneously.In order to be able to manipulate pattern formation in photovoltaic thin films we will combine new research on self-organizing systems with nanoscale materials science. We will synthesise, characterise and understand mixed metal self-organized planar meso- and/or microstructures, and single as well as mixed oxide core-shell nanopillar arrays. We will transfer the structures to ceramic systems. Results from structural and morphological studies will enable us to understand the mechanism of the formation of these structures. Photoelectrochemical characterisation will also be performed and a model will be developed.
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