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Atomic force microscopy: Emerging illuminated and operando techniques for solar fuel research

Yu, Weilai and Fu, Harold J. and Mueller, Thomas and Brunschwig, Bruce S. and Lewis, Nathan S. (2020) Atomic force microscopy: Emerging illuminated and operando techniques for solar fuel research. Journal of Chemical Physics, 153 (2). Art. No. 020902. ISSN 0021-9606. doi:10.1063/5.0009858.

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Integrated photoelectrochemical devices rely on the synergy between components to efficiently generate sustainable fuels from sunlight. The micro- and/or nanoscale characteristics of the components and their interfaces often control critical processes of the device, such as charge-carrier generation, electron and ion transport, surface potentials, and electrocatalysis. Understanding the spatial properties and structure–property relationships of these components can provide insight into designing scalable and efficient solar fuel components and systems. These processes can be probed ex situ or in situ with nanometer-scale spatial resolution using emerging scanning-probe techniques based on atomic force microscopy (AFM). In this Perspective, we summarize recent developments of AFM-based techniques relevant to solar fuel research. We review recent progress in AFM for (1) steady-state and dynamic light-induced surface photovoltage measurements; (2) nanoelectrical conductive measurements to resolve charge-carrier heterogeneity and junction energetics; (3) operando investigations of morphological changes, as well as surface electrochemical potentials, currents, and photovoltages in liquids. Opportunities for research include: (1) control of ambient conditions for performing AFM measurements; (2) in situ visualization of corrosion and morphological evolution of electrodes; (3) operando AFM techniques to allow nanoscale mapping of local catalytic activities and photo-induced currents and potentials.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Yu, Weilai0000-0002-9420-0702
Fu, Harold J.0000-0001-9738-209X
Brunschwig, Bruce S.0000-0002-6135-6727
Lewis, Nathan S.0000-0001-5245-0538
Additional Information:© 2020 Published under license by AIP Publishing. Submitted: 6 April 2020; Accepted: 5 June 2020; Published Online: 10 July 2020. This material is based upon work performed by the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, a DOE Energy Innovation Hub, supported through the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy under Award No. DE-SC0004993. The authors would like to thank the Beckman Institute at the California Institute of Technology for continuous support. Authors' Contributions: W.Y. and H.J.F. contributed equally to this work. Data Availability: The data that support the findings of this study are available within the article.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-SC0004993
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200710-151813992
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Official Citation:Atomic force microscopy: Emerging illuminated and operando techniques for solar fuel research. Weilai Yu, Harold J. Fu, Thomas Mueller, Bruce S. Brunschwig, and Nathan S. Lewis. The Journal of Chemical Physics 153:2; doi: 10.1063/5.0009858
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:104339
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:10 Jul 2020 22:30
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:30

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