Uriel Tayvah, 2017, Chemistry

Photocatalytic water splitting allows solar energy to be stored as hydrogen gas, providing a promising alternative to fossil fuels. However, the materials used as electrodes in this process can still be improved in many areas, including stability. Prior research in the Bocarsly Group has suggested that one such photoelectrode material, AgRhO2, offers improved stability when compared with CuRhO2, despite the two materials’ similar composition and structure. This summer, I used computational models to study this difference in stability, in hopes that understanding the origin of this difference would allow more stable photoelectrodes to be developed. Having the opportunity to do this research has helped shape my plans for the remainder of my undergraduate career – I plan to continue this work for my senior thesis – and inspired my future research goals.