Electrochemical nanocontacts of semiconductors: surface corrosion and corrosion inhibition
Surface corrosion under electrochemical conditions is an important issue which strongly limits the use of semiconductors as photoelectrode materials for photoelectrochemical solar-to-hydrogen energy conversion and sensor applications. Hence, very thin, corrosion-inhibiting protective layers on the surface of semiconductors are subjects of current research. While these layers structurally and chemically separate the semiconductor from the electrolyte on a nanoscale, they must at the same time provide efficient electron transfer. This PhD project is aimed at a better understanding of the corrosion process itself and the effect and properties of protective layers. Spectroscopic and microscopic investigations of III-V photoelectrodes such as InGaN using Auger spectroscopy, scanning Auger microscopy, SEM, STM and AFM with nanometer resolution will provide structural and chemical informations on the nature of electrochemical nanocontacts between semiconductor and electrolyte. This work will be performed in close collaboration with other groups of the NTH School knowledgeable in the production and application of III-V materials.