Publications - Publications - HRI-US
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You can search our peer-reviewed publications written by HRI-US researchers, sometimes in collaboration with the academic community. Start your journey by filtering our the list according to the recent projects and research areas, or searching through the catalog of archived publications.
The development of active, durable, and nonprecious electrocatalysts for hydrogen electrochemistry is highly desirable but challenging. In this work, we design and fabricate a novel interface catalyst of Ni and Co2N (Ni/Co2N) for hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) and hydrogen oxidation reaction (HOR). The Ni/Co2N interfacial catalysts not only achieve a current density of −10.0 mA cm–2 with an overpotential of 16.2 mV for HER but also provide a HOR current density of 2.35 mA cm–2 at 0.1 V vs reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE). Furthermore, the electrode couple made of the Ni/Co2N interfacial catalysts requires only a cell voltage of 1.57 V to gain a current density of 10 mA cm–2 for overall water splitting. Hybridizations in the three elements of Ni-3d, N-2p, and Co-3d result in charge transfer in the interfacial junction of the Ni and Co2N materials. Our density functional theory calculations show that both the interfacial N and Co sites of Ni/Co2N prefer to hydrogen adsorption in the hydrogen catalytic activities. This study provides a new approach for the construction of multifunctional catalysts for hydrogen electrochemistry.
The role of additives in facilitating the growth of conventional semiconducting thin films is well-established. Apparently, their presence is also decisive in the growth of two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), yet their role remains ambiguous. In this work, we show that the use of sodium bromide enables synthesis of TMD monolayers via a surfactant-mediated growth mechanism, without introducing liquefaction of metal oxide precursors. We discovered that sodium ions provided by sodium bromide chemically passivate edges of growing molybdenum disulfide crystals, relaxing in-plane strains to suppress 3D islanding and promote monolayer growth. To exploit this growth model, molybdenum disulfide monolayers were directly grown into desired patterns using predeposited sodium bromide as a removable template. The surfactant-mediated growth not only extends the families of metal oxide precursors but also offers a way for lithography-free patterning of TMD monolayers on various surfaces to facilitate fabrication of atomically thin electronic devices.
Many of the existing electrochemical catalysts suffer from poor selectivity, instability, and low exchange current densities. These shortcomings call for a comprehensive exploration of the catalytic processes at the fundamental nanometer length scale levels. Here we exploit infrared (IR) nanoimaging and nanospectroscopy to directly visualize catalytic reactions on the surface of Cu2O polyhedral single crystals with nanoscale spatial resolution. Nano-IR data revealed signatures of this common catalyst after electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxides (CO2). We discuss the utility of nano-IR methods for surface/facet engineering of efficient electrochemical catalysts.
Anisotropic Geminate and Non-Geminate Recombination of Triplet Excitons in Singlet Fission of Single-Crystalline Hexacene
Singlet fission is believed to improve the efficiency of solar energy conversion by breaking up the Shockley–Queisser thermodynamic limit. Understanding of triplet excitons generated by singlet fission is essential for solar energy exploitation. Here we employed transient absorption microscopy to examine dynamical behaviors of triplet excitons. We observed anisotropic recombination of triplet excitons in hexacene single crystals. The triplet exciton relaxations from singlet fission proceed in both geminate and non-geminate recombination. For the geminate recombination, the different rates were attributed to the significant difference in their related energy change based on the Redfield quantum dissipation theory. The process is mainly governed by the electron–phonon interaction in hexacene. On the other hand, the non-geminate recombination is of bimolecular origin through energy transfer. In the triplet–triplet bimolecular process, the rates along the two different optical axes in the a–b crystalline plane differ by a factor of 4. This anisotropy in the triplet–triplet recombination rates was attributed to the interference in the coupling probability of dipole–dipole interactions in the different geometric configurations of hexacene single crystals. Our experimental findings provide new insight into future design of singlet fission materials with desirable triplet exciton exploitations.
According to density functional theory, monolayer (ML) MoS2 is predicted to possess electrocatalytic activity for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) that approaches that of platinum. However, its observed HER activity is much lower, which is widely believed to result from a large Schottky barrier between ML MoS2 and its electrical contact. In order to better understand the role of contact resistance in limiting the performance of ML MoS2 HER electrocatalysts, this study has employed well-defined test platforms that allow for the simultaneous measurement of contact resistance and electrocatalytic activity toward the HER during electrochemical testing. At open circuit potential, these measurements reveal that a 0.5 M H2SO4 electrolyte can act as a strong p-dopant that depletes free electrons in MoS2 and leads to extremely high contact resistance, even if the contact resistance of the as-made device in air is originally very low. However, under applied negative potentials this doping is mitigated by a strong electrolyte-mediated gating effect which can reduce the contact and sheet resistances of properly configured ML MoS2 electrocatalysts by more than 5 orders of magnitude. At potentials relevant to HER, the contact resistance becomes negligible and the performance of MoS2 electrodes is limited by HER kinetics. These findings have important implications for the design of low-dimensional semiconducting electrocatalysts and photocatalysts.
Singlet fission is known to improve solar energy utilization by circumventing the Shockley-Queisser limit. The two essential steps of singlet fission are the formation of a correlated triplet pair and its subsequent quantum decoherence. However, the mechanisms of the triplet pair formation and decoherence still remain elusive. Here we examined both essential steps in single crystalline hexacene and discovered remarkable anisotropy of the overall singlet fission rate along different crystal axes. Since the triplet pair formation emerges on the same timescale along both crystal axes, the quantum decoherence is likely responsible for the directional anisotropy. The distinct quantum decoherence rates are ascribed to the notable difference on their associated energy loss according to the Redfield quantum dissipation theory. Our hybrid experimental/theoretical framework will not only further our understanding of singlet fission, but also shed light on the systematic design of new materials for the third-generation solar cells.
Singlet fission has the great potential to overcome the Shockley–Queisser thermodynamic limit and thus promotes solar power conversion efficiency. However, the current limited understandings of detailed singlet fission mechanisms hinder a further improved design of versatile singlet fission materials. In the present study, we combined ultrafast transient infrared spectroscopy with ab initio calculations to elucidate the roles played by the vibrational normal modes in the process of singlet fission for hexacene. Our transient infrared experiments revealed three groups of vibrational modes that are prominent in vibronic coupling upon photoexcitation. Through our computational study, those normal modes with notable Franck-Condon shifts have been classified as ring-twisting modes near 1300.0 cm−1, ring-stretching modes near 1600.0 cm−1, and ring-scissoring modes near 1700.0 cm−1. Experimentally, a ring-stretching mode near 1620.0 cm−1 exhibits a significant blue-shift of 4.0 cm−1 during singlet fission, which reaction rate turns out to be 0.59 ± 0.07 ps. More interestingly, the blue-shifted mode was also identified by our functional mode singlet fission theory as the primary driving mode for singlet fission, suggesting the importance of vibronic coupling when a correlated triplet pair of hexacene is directly converted from its first excited state singlet exciton. Our findings indicate that the ultrafast transient infrared spectroscopy, in conjunction with the nonadiabatic transition theory, is a powerful tool to probe the vibronic fingerprint of singlet fission.