Fuel-cell systems are of interest for a wide range of applications, in part for their utility in power generation from nonfossil-fuel sources. However, the generation of these alternative fuels, through electrochemical means, is a relatively inefficient process due to gas passivation of the electrode surfaces. Uniform microstructured nickel surfaces were prepared by photolithographic techniques as a systematic approach to correlating surface morphologies to their performance in the electrochemically driven oxygen evolution reaction (OER) in alkaline media. Hexagonal arrays of microstructured Ni cylinders were prepared with features of proportional dimensions to the oxygen bubbles generated during the OER process. Recessed and pillared features were investigated relative to planar Ni electrodes for their influence on OER performance and, potentially, bubble release. The arrays of cylindrical recesses were found to exhibit an enhanced OER efficiency relative to planar nickel electrodes. These microstructured electrodes had twice the current density of the planar electrodes at an overpotential of 100 mV. The results of these studies have important implications to guide the preparation of more-efficient fuel generation by water electrolysis and related processes.
"Hexagonal Arrays of Cylindrical Nickel Microstructures for Improved Oxygen Evolution Reaction," Paul, M.T.Y.; Yee, B.B.; Bruce, D.R.; Gates, B.D., ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2017, 9 (8), 7036-7043. DOI: 10.1021/acsami.6b14129.
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