Microwave-Induced Nanoscale Convection, Polarisation, and Thermal Effects Leading to Innovative Analytical Technology

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Oxford Chemistry


Our project hypothesis is that extremely energetic microwave-driven convection and heating are possible for both inlaid-disk nanoelectrodes and nanoparticles immersed in solution and that massive improvements in electroanalytical processes can be achieved with these microwave effects. These phenomena (temperature, mass transport) can be directly measured and quantified in electrochemical experiments employing nanoelectrodes. At very small electrodes turbulence can be suppressed and unusually fast convective flow can be achieved (driven by microwave induced thermal gradients) giving high currents and beneficial effects e.g. kinetic resolution in analytical applications (sulphide, thiol, arsenite, oxygen, carbon dioxide, etc.). More importantly, the adsorption of microwaves into the double layer of interfaces with sufficiently fast RC time constant (e.g. at nanoelectrodes) has never been reported and may again lead to novel chemical phenomena (e.g. for processes involving H2, CO2, or CO adsorbates on Pt, Pd, or Au). These kinds of processes (which occur only at nanoelectrodes or nanoparticles) could be important for sensor and fuel cell processes.


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Description • The realization of microwave enhanced processes at nano-electrodes coupled to high speed measurements. This allowed us to observed discharge effects for the first time. A new model of the processes under high intensity microwaves in liquid electrolyte has been proposed.

• The observation and enhancement of superheating effects are electrode surfaces under microwave conditions. This work allowed us to operate under extremely high temperatures without applying external pressure.
Exploitation Route The research has realised (a) new analytical procedures and (b) fundamental insights into heated electrodes and processes occurring on them. The former will be exploited by analytical chemists and the latter both by fundamental electrochmists and electroanalysts.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Energy,Environment,Healthcare

Description Papers resultant from this grant have produced significant follow up research.
First Year Of Impact 2011
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Energy,Environment,Healthcare
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic