Explore Pt corrosion on the atomic scale to find new ways to inhibit corrosion




Greater Copenhagen area

Platinum is the electrode material of choice in many energy-related electrochemical devices (fuel cells, electrolysers) because of its superior corrosion resistance (and electrocatalytic activity). It is, however, scarce and much research tries to find more abundant substitutes for Pt, so we can have enough electrode material for future energy conversion.

An alternative solution could be to make Pt even more corrosion resistant to make the available Pt last longer.  To this end, one needs to better understand how and at what sites Pt actually corrodes on the atomic scale under the various harsh electrochemical conditions present in real devices.

Your project will be to investigate the corrosion of Pt single crystal surfaces, i.e. very clean and well-defined model systems with a new unique setup, we just established in the recently started “VILLUM Center for the Science for Sustainable Fuels and Chemicals” at DTU Physics.

You will prepare surfaces under very clean conditions in an ultra-high vacuum chamber.  Samples can be transferred back and forth to an attached electrochemical cell without going through air.  In this cell, corrosion can be performed in a very controlled way.  Using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), you will visualize the surfaces before and after corrosion to see both how and where on the surface corrosion happens.  See above an image from a first test run of the new system, it's working now and you could be the first student to do research on it :

To unravel the detailed corrosion mechanisms and find out, how to make the surface more resistant, you can modify the surfaces, e.g. by adding passivating material at sites you find to be most vulnerable to corrosion.  Hopefully, you will find a new way to inhibit corrosion and thus help us, to make better use of the available Pt.

Sounds interesting -- or looking for a similar project?  Then come talk to me!


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Technical University of Denmark

For almost two centuries DTU, Technical University of Denmark, has been dedicated to fulfilling the vision of H.C. Ørsted – the father of electromagnetism – who founded the university in 1829 to develop and create value using the natural sciences and the technical sciences to benefit society.

Today, DTU is ranked as one of the foremost technical universities in Europe, continues to set new records in the number of publications, and persistently increases and develops our partnerships with industry, and assignments accomplished by DTU’s public sector consultancy.

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Anker Engelunds Vej 1
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2800 Kgs. Lyngby


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CVR-nr. 30 06 09 46

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