|dc.description.abstract||The ever increasing demand for energy due to over consumption of non-renewable fossil fuels has emphasized the need for alternate, sustainable and efficient energy conversion and storage systems. In this direction, electrochemical energy conversion and storage systems involving various fundamental electrochemical redox processes such as hydrogen evolution (HER), oxygen reduction (ORR), oxygen evolution (OER), hydrogen oxidation (HOR) reactions and others become highly important. Electrocatalysts are often used to accelerate the kinetics of these reactions. Platinum (Pt), ruthenium oxide and iridium oxide (RuO2 and IrO2) are known to be the state of the art catalysts for several of these reactions due to favouarable density of states (DOS) near the Fermi level, binding energy with the reactant species, chemical inertness etc. Apart from HER, OER and ORR, chlorine evolution reaction (Cl-ER) is another industrially important reaction associated with water purification, disinfection, bleaching, chemical weapons and pharmaceuticals. Dimensionally stable anodes (RuO2/IrO2 mixed with TiO2 on Ti) are the most commonly used catalysts for this process. Issues related to surface poisoning, corrosion and cost of the catalysts, in addition to selectivity and specificity towards a particular reaction are various aspects to be addressed. For example, Pt is not very specific for ORR in presence of methanol in addition to high cost and corrosion in certain media. On the other hand, DSA can efficiently catalyze both OER and Cl-ER, and hence there is overlap of the two processes in the potential range available. There is an on going search for efficient, cost-effective, stable catalysts that possess high specificity for a particular redox reaction. Towards this goal, the present study explores certain layered (phospho)chalcogenides for catalyzing HER, ORR, OER and Cl-ER.
The present thesis is structured in two parts, where the first part explores the multi-functional catalytic aspects of new classes of compounds based on layered transition metal mixed chalcogenides (MoS2(1-x)Se2x) and ternary phosphochalcogenides (FePS3, FePSe3 and MoPS). In addition, lithium insertion and desinsertion has been studied with the aim of using the layered materials for rechargeable batteries. The second part of the thesis explores organic electrode materials with active carbonyl groups such as rufigallol, polydihydroxyanthrachene succinic anhydride (PDASA) as battery electrodes. Additionally, covalently functionalized transition metal phthalocyanines with reduced graphene oxide are studied as counter electrodes in dye sensitized solar cells (DSSCs).
MoS2(1-x)Se2x (x = 0 to 1) compositions are solid solutions of MoS2 and MoSe2 in different ratios. They crystallize in hexagonal structure with space group P63/mmc (D6h4) having Mo in trigonal prismatic coordination like the pristine counterparts. X-Ray diffraction studies reveal that Vegard’s law (figure 1a) is followed and hence complete miscibility of MoS2 and MoSe2 is established. MoS2(1-x)Se2x (x = 0 to 1) are layered in nature and the layers are held together by long range, weak van der Waal’s forces. This gives us the flexibility of exfoliation to produce corresponding few-layer materials (figure 1b).
Figure 1. (a) Variation of lattice parameter corresponding to (002) reflection of MoS2(1-x)Se2x with different x values. (b) Scanning electron micrograph of few-layer MoS2(1-x)Se2x (x = 0.5).
The electrocatalytic activity of the few-layer sulphoselenides have been studied towards HER in aqueous 0.5 M H2SO4 and towards Cl-ER in 3 M aqueous NaCl (pH = 3) solution. The mixed chalcogenides exhibit very good activities for both HER and Cl-ER as compared to the activity of their pristine counter parts (i.e. MoS2 and MoSe2) (figures 2a and 2b). Electrocatalytic activity on different compositions reveal that MoS1.0Se1.0 exhibits the maximum activity. Additionally, it has been observed that MoS1.0Se1.0 shows high specificity for Cl-ER with negligible interference of OER.
Figure 2. Voltammetric data for (a) hydrogen evolution reaction (in 0.5 M aqueous H2SO4) and (b) chlorine evolution reaction (in 3 M aqueous NaCl solution, pH = 3) on MoS2(1-x)Se2x (x = 0, 0.5, 1).
Figure 3. (a) XRD pattern of MoS2(1-x)Se2x (x = 0.5) electrode after a cycle of Li insersion and deinsersion (red) along with as-synthesized material (black) (b) Cycling behaviour of rGO supported (black) and pristine (red) MoS2(1-x)Se2x (x = 0.5) as electrode in rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
The equiatomic MoS1.0Se1.0 has also been studied as an anode material for rechargeable lithium batteries. The cyclic voltammogram and characterization after charge-discharge cycle (figure 3a) indicate intercalation of Li with in the layers followed by
conversion type formation of Li-S and Li-Se type compounds. The pristine material shows continuous capacity fading while the composites of sulphoselenides functionalized with conducting carbon supports such as rGO, MWCNT, super P carbon, toray carbon show marked improvement in capacity as well as cycling behavior. The rGO functionalized MoS1.0Se1.0 reveals ~1000 mAh/g of stable specific discharge capacity for 500 cycles (figure 3b).
In the next two chapters, new class of transition metal-based layered materials FePS3 and FePSe3, containing both P and chalcogen (S and Se) is indroduced for electrocatalysis. FePS3 crystallizes in monoclinic symmetry with an indirect band gap of ~1.55 eV while FePSe3 possesses rhombohedral crystal structure with comparatively low band gap (~1.3 eV) as shown in figure 4a. The FePS3 and FePSe3 have been exfoliated as has been done for MoS1.0Se1.0 (liquid exfoliation method) using acetone as the solvent. Stable colloids with few-layer nanosheets having lamellar morphology and lateral sizes of ~100 to 200 nm are obtained. Electrical characterization indicates that they are semiconducting and the conductivity of the Se analogue is ~50 times higher than that of the S analogue (figure 4b).
Figure 4. (a) Catholuminescence of FePX3 ( X = S and Se) reveals the band gap of the material. Band gap of the S analogue is 1.52 eV and that of the Se analogue is 1.33 eV (b) Resistivity of FePX3 ( X = S and Se) as a function of temperature.
The tri-functional electrocatalytic activities on rGO-few layer FePX3 (X = S and Se) have been evaluated for HER over a wide pH range (0.5 M H2SO4, 0.5 M KOH, phosphate
Figure 5. Catalytic activity of rGO-few-layer FePX3 (X = S, Se) towards HER in (a) aqueous 0.5 M H2SO4 and (b) 3.5 wt % NaCl solutions. (c) ORR activity of the catalysts in oxygen saturated 0.5 M KOH (d) OER behaviour on the catalysts in 0.5 M KOH at a rotation speed of 1600 rpm. buffer, pH 7 and 3.5 % NaCl), ORR and OER in alkaline media (0.5 M KOH). The studies clearly reveal that both rGO-FePS3 and rGO-FePSe3 exhibit excellent HER activity in acidic media (figure 5a) with high stability. The HER studies in 3.5 wt % aqueous NaCl solution (figure 5b) suggests that the catalysts are effective in evolving hydrogen from sea-water environment. Studies on ORR activity (figure 5c) indicate that the rGO composites of both S and Se analogues follow 4-electron pathways to produce water as the final product. They are also found to be highly methanol tolerant. In the case of OER (figure 5d), XPS characterization of the electrodes after the voltammetric studies reveals the presence of very thin layer of Fe2O3 (not detectable by XRD). All the three reactions (HER, ORR and OER) catalyzed by the Se analogue are better than the S analogue (figure 5). This could be due to the low band gap and high conductivity of FePSe3 as compared to FePS3. The over potential to achieve 10 mAcm-2 current density is ~108 mV for rGO-few-layer FePS3 catalyst where in the case of rGO-few layer FePSe3, it is ~97 mV (table 1).
Table 1. Catalytic activities of rGO-few layer FePS3 and rGO-few layer FePSe3 towards HER, ORR and OER.
Reaction studied rGO-FePS3 rGO-FePSe3
HER (η @ 10mAcm-2) ~108 mV ~97 mV
ORR (peak potential) ~0.81 V ~0.87 V
OER (η @ 10mAcm-2) ~470 mV ~430 mV
It is likely that there is a strong interaction between FePX3 (metal d-orbital) and rGO, as observed from the downward shift of Fe 2p peak in high resolution XPS studies. This interaction may extend the density of states of metal d-orbitals thereby improving the catalytic activities.
The next chapter deals with molybdenum-based phosphosulphide compound (MoPS). Molybdenum-based phosphide catalysts have been explored recently as excellent catalysts for various electrochemical reactions such as HER. It is expected that the catalyst containing both S and P will show positive effects on catalytic activities due to the synergy between S and P. In the present study, P incorporated MoS2 is studied towards HER. The XRD pattern of the as-synthesized crystal suggests the presence of mixed phase of MoS2, MoP2 and MoP while the elemental mapping in microscopy indicates the ratio of Mo, P and S to be 1:1:1. The electrochemical HER in 0.5 M H2SO4 indicates that the activity is improved drastically as compared to bulk and few-layer MoS2.
The next section explores the use of different organic electrode materials possessing active carbonyl groups for Li-storage studies. The advantage of the use of carbonyl-based compounds lies in the high reversible activity towards Li ion insersion and de-insersion. Rufigallol (figure 6a) exhibits very stable capacity of ~200 mAh/g (at C/20 rate) upto 500
Figure 6. (a) and (c) Schematic representation of rufigallol and poly-dihydroanthracene succinic anhydride (PDASA) respectively. (b) and (d) Cyclic behaviour of rufigallol (at C/20 rate) and PDASA (at 20 mAg-1 current rate) in Li-storage devices. (e) and (f) represent the coulombic efficiency of rufigallol (at C/20 rate) and PDASA (at 20 mAg-1 current rate) as a function of number of cycles.
cycles along (figure 6b) and with very good rate capability. A triptycene-based mesoporous polymer, PDASA (figure 6c) is introduced and explored as efficient electrode material for Li-storage. PDASA exhibits very high capacity of ~1000 mAh/g at a current rate of 50 mA/g upto 1000 cycles (figure 6d). Even at very high current rates (3A/g) excellent cyclability is observed. The mechanistic details of lithium uptake and release are studied using various spectroscopic techniques. In both the cases the coulombic efficiency observed is ~80 to 90 % (figures 6e and f).
Figure 7. (a) Digital photograph of the dye sensitized solar cell with rGO-Co-TAPc counter electrode. (b) Photoconversion efficiency of DSSCs with different counter electrodes as mentioned in the figure. (c) Photo conversion efficiency of Pt and rGO-Co-TAPc based DSSCs as function of storage time. (d) Schematic illustration of DSSC wherein the energy level of the counter electrodes and electrolyte are shown for different M-TAPcs.
In a slightly different direction, metal phthalocyanine - rGO composites (rGO-M-TAPc; M = Co, Zn, Fe) have been explored as counter electrodes in DSSC. Figure 7a depicts the digital image of a DSSC constructed using rGO-Co-TAPc as the counter electrode. It has been observed that rGO-cobalt tetraamino phthalocyanine (rGO-Co-TAPc) counter electrode exhibits ~6.6 % of solar conversion efficiency (figure 7b) and is close to that of standard DSSC (Pt counter electrode) under identical experimental conditions and are highly stable (figure 7c). Other metal phthalocyanines show less efficiency and is analysed based on the relative positions of HOMO energy levels of the materials and the energy level of the redox system (I-/I3- system) as given in figure 7d.
The thesis contains eight chapters on aspects discussed above along with summary and future perspectives given at the end. It is devided into various chapters in two sections, one comprising inorganic chalcogenide-based electrocatalysts and another comprising organic electrode materials. Appendix I discusses the Na-storage behaviour of MoS1.0Se1.0 and appendix II describes the Li-storage behaviour of rGO functionalized benzoquinone and diamino anthraquinone electrode materials.||en_US