Atomic-scale Structural Studies of the Electrochemical Interface

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Physics


The solid/liquid interface plays a fundamental role in a diverse range of physical phenomena, for example in catalysis, crystal growth and in many biological reactions that govern the building of the human body and the functioning of the brain. Unravelling the atomic structure at the solid/liquid interface remains, therefore, one of the major challenges facing surface science today for it is only by understanding the physical processes in model systems that we can extrapolate to more complex environments. Due to the buried nature of the interface, it is inaccessible to most standard surface science techniques that employ strongly adsorbed electron probes to gain surface sensitivity. Study of the interface is restricted to techniques that employ penetrating radiation, such as x-ray and neutron scattering and optical spectroscopy, or imaging techniques, where the probe is brought in close proximity to the solid surface. Development of these relatively new techniques is providing the main methodological driving force for new investigations of the solid/liquid interface. This has been paralleled by the advancements made in synchrotron radiation, where a third generation of light sources is currently operational around the world. This proposal aims to strengthen the collaboration between scientists at the University of Liverpool, Argonne National Laboratory and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in the study of this complex interface. The collaboration will involve the sharing of equipment, materials and expertise and the training of PhD students in the use of state-of-the-art experimental equipment. It will also involve the use and development of synchrotron radiation techniques for probing the atomic structure at the solid-liquid interface.


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Description This was a continuation of an existing collaboration between the PI and scientists at Argonne National Laboratory in the US. It funded travel to the US to conduct experiments at the Advanced Photon Source. Many experiments were performed some of which have been published.
In addition there was significant knowledge transfer which enabled the development of experimental programmes both at the University of Liverpool and at the EPSRC-funded beamline XMaS at the ESRF in Grenoble.
Exploitation Route Published papers will influence future research in this field. Synchrotron facilities have benefited from advances in methodologies.
Collaboration between the US institution and the PI continues and has been strengthened.
Sectors Chemicals,Energy

Description Argonne National Laboratory 
Organisation Argonne National Laboratory
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Expertise in synchrotron techniques
Collaborator Contribution Expertise in electrocatalysis
Impact Publications