Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2010

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Leddy, Johna

First Committee Member

Arnold, Mark A

Second Committee Member

Gillan, Edward G

Third Committee Member

Geng, Lei

Fourth Committee Member

Lee, Hosin


Magnetic field effects (MFE) on electrochemical systems have been of interest to researchers for the past 60 years. MFEs on mass transport, such as magnetohydrodynamics and magnetic field gradients effects are reported, but MFEs on electron transfer kinetics have been rarely investigated. Magnetic modification of electrodes enhances electron transfer kinetics under conditions of high concentrations and low physical diffusion conditions, as shown by Leddy and coworkers. Magnetic microparticles embedded in an ion exchange polymer (e.g., Nafion) applied to electrode surfaces. Rates of electron transfer reactions to diffusing redox probes and to adsorbates are markedly enhanced.

This work reports MFEs on hydrogen evolution on illuminated p-Si; MFEs on hydrogen evolution on noncatalytic electrodes; a model for MFEs on homogeneous self-exchange reactions; and a convolution based voltammetric method for film modified electrodes.

First, a MFE on the photoelectrochemical hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) at p-Si semiconductors is demonstrated. The HER is an adsorbate reaction. Magnetic modification reduces the energetic cost of the HER by 400 - 500 mV as compared to Nafion modified electrodes and by 1200 mV as compared to unmodified p-Si. Magnetically modified p-Si achieves 6.2 % energy conversion efficiency. Second, from HER on noncatalytic electrodes, the MFE on photoelectrochemical cells arises from improved heterogeneous electron transfer kinetics. On glassy carbon electrodes, magnetic modification improves heterogeneous electron transfer rate constant, k₀,for HER 80,000 fold. Third, self exchange reaction rates are investigated under magnetic modification for various temperatures, outersphere redox probes, and magnetic particles. Arrhenius analyses of the rate constants collected from the experiments show a 30 - 40 % decrease in activation energy at magnetically modified electrodes. A kinetic model is established based on transition state theory. The model includes pre-polarization and electron nuclear spin polarization steps and characterizes a majority of the experimental results. Lastly, a convolution technique for modified with uniform films electrodes is developed and coded in Matlab (mathematical software) for simple and straightforward analysis of Nafion modified electrodes.


Electron Transfer Kinetics, Hydrogen Evolution Reaction, Magnetic Field Effect, Photoelectrochemistry, Self-Exchanger Reaction, Semiconductor Electrode


xv, 177 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 173-177).


Copyright 2010 Heung Chan Lee

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