Dr. Astrid M. Mueller - Laser Technologist, BI Staff
PhD: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat München, Munich, Germany, 2000
Solar energy conversion into storable, carbon-neutral fuels is essential to sustainably power the planet. My research focuses on the development of robust and efficient earth-abundant water oxidation nanocatalysts. I use pulsed laser ablation in liquids to synthesize small, monodisperse, surfactant-free, size and composition controlled nanomaterials (ACS Catal. 2013, 3, 2497). Our [NiFe]-layered double hydroxide catalysts, especially when doped with Lewis-acidic ions, show highest activity ever observed on a flat supporting electrode in alkaline electrolyte (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 13118). Mechanistic understanding of reactive intermediates during catalytic turnover is being gained by in-situ spectroscopies. Detailed analysis of the microscopic nature of the nanocatalysts is also the subject of ongoing work. Additionally, I am investigating earth-abundant photoanode materials. We have established factors that affect the photoelectrochemical performance of BiVO4 (Mater. Horiz. 2015, 2, 330). Preparation of nanocatalyst–photoanode assemblies is underway, with the aim to create a functional solar water splitting device.