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Group of Prof. Fattakhova-Rohlfing

Welcome to the Group of Prof. Fattakhova-Rohlfing!

 

For the development of novel energy conversion and energy storage systems, both the choice of the materials and their morphology are of great importance. Nanostructuring has a profound effect on the material’s properties and is considered as one of the key routes towards the improvement of their efficiency. The performance of already known materials can be strongly enhanced by decreasing the crystal size to only a few nanometers and by judiciously designing their nanomorphology.

Our group is looking for the ways to fabricate the nanostructured inorganic materials demonstrating maximum efficiency in various electrochemical, photoelectrochemical and photovoltaic applications. The research topics involve the development of synthesis strategies for the fabrication of semiconducting and conducting metal oxide nanocrystals, and assembly of these nanocrystals into functional interconnected hierarchical networks providing charge transfer junctions with high interface area and a continuous pathway for the charge transport. We put the great emphasis on the control of metal oxides on the nanometer scale as a key factor to achieve an optimized device performance. The efforts to obtain nanostructured metal oxides with the desired properties largely rely on the understanding of the structure, crystallite size, lattice defects and lattice ion transport properties, as well as understanding and controlling the processes influencing charge transfer and charge transport properties. The combination of structural characterization with the electrochemical characterization of the obtained materials enable systematic investigation of their size-dependent and structure-dependent electrochemical activity, and provide a basis for the development of efficient electrode materials.

We mainly focus on the bottom-up chemical synthesis strategies for the fabrication of nanomaterials, which often provide unique possibilities compared to the physical methods. In chemical routes, formation of nanomaterials is usually kinetically rather than thermodynamically controlled, which enables obtaining metastable and – if needed - non-stoichiometric phases unachievable by the traditional physical ways. This can be especially advantageous for catalytic applications, as the active catalytic states are usually far from the thermodynamic minimum. It can be also beneficial for the applications involving coupled electron-ion transfer such as electrochemical energy storage, as the change in stoichiometry changes the energetic as well as the electron/ion diffusion properties of the electrode materials.

 

The main areas of our research:

Nanostructured materials for electrochemical energy storage

Nanostructured materials for (photo)electrocatalysis

Nanostructured transparent conducting oxides (TCO)

Semiconducting metal oxide nanoparticles

Hierarchical titania morphologies for hybrid solar cells