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

Authors: 
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.