Date of Award

5-2018

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Wujian Miao, Ph.D

Advisor Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Abstract

In light of a looming fossil fuel scarcity, many forms of alternative, clean energy production are being researched in order to provide a more sustainable source of energy production for the future. One area of research is on using novel, abundant catalytic materials in conjunction with semiconducting materials to drive the splitting of water in order to produce hydrogen gas, an energy-rich fuel. Currently, efficiency is limited by the energy bottleneck posed by the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) half of water splitting. In this work, cobalt selenide (CoSe) catalyst paired with the semiconductor iron oxide (Fe2O3) has been identified as a particularly promising system. The results in this study show that CoSe is highly active for water oxidation and greatly increases the OER activity as compared to Fe2O3 alone. Studies have also been conducted to show the variation in maximum OER activity with changing electrodeposition time of CoSe, and an optimal deposition time has been identified. Using this deposition time, the water-splitting activity of CoSe/Fe2O3 was measured under both light and dark conditions. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images of films have been taken to observe surface morphology and UV-Vis measurements have been taken to confirm the identity of the deposited films.

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