Electrochemistry of carbon based engineered structures

Iurlo, Matteo (2010) Electrochemistry of carbon based engineered structures, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze chimiche, 22 Ciclo.
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The main aims of my PhD research work have been the investigation of the redox, photophysical and electronic properties of carbon nanotubes (CNT) and their possible uses as functional substrates for the (electro)catalytic production of oxygen and as molecular connectors for Quantum-dot Molecular Automata. While for CNT many and diverse applications in electronics, in sensors and biosensors field, as a structural reinforcing in composite materials have long been proposed, the study of their properties as individual species has been for long a challenging task. CNT are in fact virtually insoluble in any solvent and, for years, most of the studies has been carried out on bulk samples (bundles). In Chapter 2 an appropriate description of carbon nanotubes is reported, about their production methods and the functionalization strategies for their solubilization. In Chapter 3 an extensive voltammetric and vis-NIR spectroelectrochemical investigation of true solutions of unfunctionalized individual single wall CNT (SWNT) is reported that permitted to determine for the first time the standard electrochemical potentials of reduction and oxidation as a function of the tube diameter of a large number of semiconducting SWNTs. We also established the Fermi energy and the exciton binding energy for individual tubes in solution and, from the linear correlation found between the potentials and the optical transition energies, one to calculate the redox potentials of SWNTs that are insufficiently abundant or absent in the samples. In Chapter 4 we report on very efficient and stable nano-structured, oxygen-evolving anodes (OEA) that were obtained by the assembly of an oxygen evolving polyoxometalate cluster, (a totally inorganic ruthenium catalyst) with a conducting bed of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT). Here, MWCNT were effectively used as carrier of the polyoxometallate for the electrocatalytic production of oxygen and turned out to greatly increase both the efficiency and stability of the device avoiding the release of the catalysts. Our bioinspired electrode addresses the major challenge of artificial photosynthesis, i.e. efficient water oxidation, taking us closer to when we might power the planet with carbon-free fuels. In Chapter 5 a study on surface-active chiral bis-ferrocenes conveniently designed in order to act as prototypical units for molecular computing devices is reported. Preliminary electrochemical studies in liquid environment demonstrated the capability of such molecules to enter three indistinguishable oxidation states. Side chains introduction allowed to organize them in the form of self-assembled monolayers (SAM) onto a surface and to study the molecular and redox properties on solid substrates. Electrochemical studies on SAMs of these molecules confirmed their attitude to undergo fast (Nernstian) electron transfer processes generating, in the positive potential region, either the full oxidized Fc+-Fc+ or the partly oxidized Fc+-Fc species. Finally, in Chapter 6 we report on a preliminary electrochemical study of graphene solutions prepared according to an original procedure recently described in the literature. Graphene is the newly-born of carbon nanomaterials and is certainly bound to be among the most promising materials for the next nanoelectronic generation.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Iurlo, Matteo
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze chimiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
carbon nanotubes graphene spectroelectrochemistry molecular electonics oxigen envolving anodes
Data di discussione
4 Giugno 2010

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