(59d) Molecular Engineering of Polymers for Electrochemical Applications in Water and Energy

Arges, C. G., Louisiana State University
Lin, Y. J., Argonne National Laboratory
Palakkal, V. M., Louisiana State University
Zhang, L., Louisiana State University
Directed self-assembly of block copolymers has emerged as a low cost nanomanufacturing platform for realizing sub-10 nm patterns for integrated circuit manufacturing. This process is mature and established and is currently being pursued by numerous semi-conductor manufacturers. However, extension of directed self-assembly of block copolymer concepts to the realm of electrochemical materials is not as widespread.

In this talk, directed self-assembly of block copolymers was leveraged to make periodic nanostructured electrocatalyst of precious group metals on glassy carbon substrates – targeted for fuel cell and electrolysis applications. The talk will demonstrate several different nanomanufacturing platforms for fabricating nanowires and nanoparticles from perpendicularly aligned self-assembled block copolymer templates. Preliminary catalytic activity of these nanostructured materials for a model reaction – oxygen reduction - will be presented.

The talk will close with our recent efforts on reducing the energy footprint for desalinating brackish water streams with rationally designed ion-exchange membranes. This part of the talk will showcase our approach to make molecular level bipolar junctions on nanoparticle supports. The importance of these bipolar junctions, similar to a p-n type junction seen in semiconductor devices, will be discussed in the context of water purification.