Leon Jacobse is our Leiden Institute of Chemistry's nominee for the C.J. Kok Jury Award 2019.
‘Visualising and understanding electrochemically reactive structures at the atomic scale, seeing details that had never been observed before, formed the ultimate reward for the hard work.’
About Leon's research
In most applications, electrocatalysts exhibit a large surface area to volume ratio, for example using nanoparticles. To fully understand fundamental electrochemical processes at the length scale of these nanoparticles, it is necessary to use specialised experimental techniques. In this thesis, the stability and activity of platinum electrode surfaces are studied at the nano- and micrometer scale using Electrochemical Scanning Probe Microscopy techniques. The roughening of an atomically flat platinum(111) surface upon repetitive oxidation and reduction is described. These data were acquired using a combination of Electrochemical Scanning Tunneling Microscopy and Cyclic Voltammetry. The thesis also describes the development of a new technique to resolve small differences in local reactivity, so-called Voltammetric Scanning Electrochemical Cell Microscopy. The power of this technique is demonstrated by studying the reactivity of a polycrystalline platinum sample towards hydrazine oxidation. Finally, the thesis compares the reactivity of small platinum ultramicro-electrodes to that of conventional macro-electrodes.