Electrochemistry and PhotoElectrochemistry

Permanent scientific members of the team  : Pedro de Oliveira (PR); Israël M. Mbomekalle (CR); Anne-Lucie Teillout (MC); Yu-Wei Lu (MC)

The team is dedicated to the study of electrochemical and photo-electrochemical processes, ranging from fundamental aspects of phenomena occurring in solution or at the solid/solution interface to applications in energy, environment and molecular electronics. The elucidation of reaction mechanisms and electro-catalytic processes, and in particular the phenomena of proton-coupled electron transfer (PCET), is part of our interests.

PolyOxoMetalates (POMs) are molecular oxides with several metal centres that can store and reversibly give back a large number of electrons without changing their structure. They are effective photoelectro-catalysts in many reactions and are the subject of our research. In addition to the fundamental study of the electrochemical behaviour of POMs, we are interested in the energy and environmental applications of POM-based nanohybrids, in particular with carbon nanomaterials (such as graphene and nanotubes). The latter covers several topics, such as: a) fuel cells without noble metals (electro-catalysis of the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and alcohol oxidation); b) the hydrogen (HER) and the oxygen evolution reactions (OER), and carbon dioxide reduction; c) pollutant detection and removal (electro-catalytic reduction of nitrogen oxides and organic dyes); d) interactions with molecules of biological interest. Sandwich-type POMs synthesised within the team and having a mixed metal cation composition at the equatorial level are particularly promising for these applications.

Finally, we evaluate the influence of several parameters (size and charge of the species, pH and ionic strength of the medium) on the electrochemical response of POMs obtained with electrodes modified with oriented mesoporous silica films. The aim is to fabricate an ultra-dense network of POM nanowires, separated and uniformly distributed in the individual insulating nano-channels, for applications in the field of molecular electronics.