Due to huge price reduction in solar and wind energy, electricity will soon become very cheap. While electricity can be used to power society, we still need chemicals. With cheap electricity there is now starting to be a huge push from the chemical industry into developing ways to electrochemically produce chemicals.
One ground breaking approach is to take advantage of electronic tunneling. In most situations electrical potential a variation in electric potential results in a variation in electrical current. However electrical tunneling decouples these 2 parameters. Thus one can have a variation in current at a given potential. The goal of this project will be to exploit tunneling to create electrochemical reactions that would otherwise be impossible.
To produce high-value electrochemical products, the reactants go through many intermediate products on their way to a given final product. Some of these intermediates occur due to electron transfer and some of them are pure chemical bonding reactions. Varying the electron flow via tunneling (at a set potential) will vary the time allowed for the chemical bonding reaction to occur before another electron is added. This potentially could allow us to modify the selectivity of the reaction to unique products.'
This is a very fundamental project that would involve both some modeling as well as experimental electrochemical experiments to measure reaction selectivity as a function of electronic tunneling current. This project would rely heavily on solid-state physics principles, but would also involve surface science, catalysis, and electrochemistry principles.
I samarbejde medDTU Physics
Solid state physics knowledge. A course in electrochemistry would also be useful