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Journal of Nanotechnology
Volume 2011, Article ID 727396, 9 pages
Research Article

Experimental Study of Nonequilibrium Electrodeposition of Nanostructures on Copper and Nickel for Photochemical Fuel Cell Application

1Energy Conversion Research Laboratory, Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH 43606, USA
2Ottawa Hills High School, 2532 Evergreen Road, Toledo, OH 43606, USA

Received 10 March 2011; Revised 10 May 2011; Accepted 8 June 2011

Academic Editor: Sakhrat Khizroev

Copyright © 2011 Rajesh K. Shanmugam et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


To increase the performance of photochemical fuel cells, nonequilibrium electrodeposition has been performed on Cu and Ni to make photosensitive anodes. Processing parameters including electrolyte concentration, and electrode potential were studied using cyclic voltammetry. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) were performed to understand the formation of the nanostructures during the nonequilibrium deposition of copper fractals. An increase in the deposition rate was observed with the increase in electrolyte concentration (from 0.05 M to 1.0 M). Similar trend was found when the cathode potential was decreased from −0.5 V to −4.5 V. The effect of substrate material was also examined. Porous fractal structures on copper were achieved, while the deposited material showed high density of surface cracks on nickel. The fractal structures deposited on copper electrode with the increased surface area were converted into copper oxide by oxidation in air. Such oxide samples were made into anodes for photochemical fuel cell application. We demonstrated that an increase in the magnitude of open circuit output voltage is associated with the increase in the fractal surface area under the ultraviolet irradiation test conditions. However, the electrodeposited fractals on nickel showed very limited increase in the magnitude of open circuit voltage.