Nicole Smits – Leiden University – click for more info

Electrochemical reduction of oxygen using molecular copper model catalysts

In the field of renewable energy, a hydrogen fuel cell oxidizes hydrogen simultaneously with the reduction of dioxygen. In current fuel cells, the oxygen reduction reaction is catalyzed by platinum at a relatively high overpotential of around 400 mV. This in contrast to multicopper oxidases like laccase which catalyze the oxygen reduction reaction very efficiently in nature. Our research group at Leiden University focuses on understanding the active site of laccase and studying the involved oxygen reduction reaction mechanism of biomimetic systems. For this purpose, we have synthesized various molecular copper model catalysts and studied their oxygen reduction behavior electrochemically.

About Nicole Smits
Nicole Smits is currently finishing her PhD at the institute of chemistry at Leiden University in the group of Dennis Hetterscheid. She did her MSc in the group of Koop Lammertsma, where she worked on the development of light harvesting iridium complexes for incorporation into a dye sensitized solar cell. This drew her attention to the field of renewable energy. At Leiden University, she has been continuing in this field with the focus on the cathode side of the hydrogen fuel cell.