Electrocatalysis@nanoscale: techniques and applications

24 - 28 November 2008

Venue: Lorentz Center@Oort

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Electro catalysis is a highly interdisciplinary discipline of science of great importance for our future energy economy (batteries, fuel cells, hydrogen production…). A good background in electro catalysis, which would enable one to tackle all the important research problems in this area, requires knowledge of chemistry, physics, catalysis, materials science, electronics, nanotechnology, biochemistry, etc. This aspect is also reflected in the many different experimental techniques that are available to study electro catalytic and electrochemical processes, which range from modifications of the classical spectroscopic techniques (Infrared, Raman, UV-VIS) to scanning probe microscopies (AFM, STM) to techniques based on electrical response (voltammetry, impedance spectroscopy, scanning electrochemical microscopy).

There is a clear need for junior scientists in electrochemistry and electro catalysis at the PhD and postdoctoral level to be educated and trained in a highly interdisciplinary way, which is hardly possible at a local university level. The purpose of this Workshop is to bring together junior scientists to learn about the principles and possible applications of the various experimental techniques applicable to the study of the electro catalytic systems. This workshop will be really a workshop and will be more than a “School” because:

a)     Participants will be asked to formulate a pertinent research question from their own research before the start of the Workshop. This should be a research oriented question which they believe can be solved using the techniques discussed at the Workshop.

b)     The workshop will be divided into a number of “Tutorial Workshops” in which senior specialists teach participants about the principles and possible applications of the various techniques, and in which there is ample time for discussion and interaction with the senior specialists, but also with their fellow junior scientists (who may be specialist in one particular technique), to discuss how a technique may aid in solving a research problem. To structure this part of the tutorial, we envisage letting the participants (junior plus senior scientists) work in small informal groups (4-8 people).

c)      At the end of the meeting, participants will write a short proposal on how they envisage tackling their research problem with a new technique about which they have learned at the Workshop. Funding for these research visits will be available from the COST Working Group WG D36/05/06 "Structure-Reactivity Relationship of Pt and Pd Nanoarrays". Participants who are not part of this network are welcome to join but will need to find funding for research visits themselves. 


Although there is no focused research question or theme for this Workshop, all participants will be from research laboratories working in the area of electrochemistry and electro catalysis (reactions such as hydrogen evolution, oxygen reduction, water oxidation, alcohol oxidation). Therefore, we envisage research questions such as:

How can I characterize my catalytic surface with a certain level of chemical, structural, spatial or temporal resolution using technique X? What can I learn in addition if I would also use technique Y? How can I identify a certain intermediate in the chemical reaction that I am studying? How can I prepare a certain surface on a certain nanometer-level, and what would be the best way to characterize that surface? How can I study the kinetics of the process that I am studying? How do I identify the rate-determining step, the catalytically active site, the number of relevant reaction steps, etc.?

Apart from the organizers, the following specialists have agreed to lecture during the workshop:

Prof. Dr. Olaf Magnussen, Kiel, Germany

(Electrochemical STM)

Dr. Antonio Rodes, Alicante, Spain

(Electrochemical applications of Infrared Spectroscopy)

Dr. Bruno Pettinger, Berlin, Germany

(Electrochemical applications of Raman Spectroscopy)

Dr. Bernard Boukamp, Twente, The Netherlands

(Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy)

Prof. Dr. Helmut Baltruschat, Bonn, Germany

(Electrochemical online Mass Spectrometry)

Prof. Dr. David Schiffrin, Liverpool, UK

(Electrochemical applications of nanotechnology)


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