Our current research interests are mainly in renewable energy technologies. Our research efforts are focused on the areas of emerging photovoltaics, (photo)electrocatalytic water splitting and ammonia electrosynthesis.
[March 2019] PhD Scholarships in Electrocatalysis (water splitting, nitrogen reduction to ammonia, chlorine evolution for sanitisation) are now available.
20 March 2019 - Hoang-Long and Alexandr are proud to contribute to a critical perspective by Prof Douglas R. MacFarlane on the prospects and challenges in the rapidly developing but highly problematic field of the electrochemical nitrogen reduction to ammonia:
B.H. R. Suryanto, H.-L. Du, D. Wang, J. Chen, A. N. Simonov, D. R. MacFarlane, Challenges and prospects in the catalysis of electroreduction of nitrogen to ammonia. Nature Catalysis, 2019.
12 March 2019 - Quite a few young and bright researchers have joined the group over the last months. We welcome:
Danijel and Pavel - postdocs to work towards the projects on water splitting and ammonia electrosynthesis, respectively;
Jamie who has finished his Hons with outstanding marks with us last year and now has returned to complete a PhD in water splitting;
Yvonne - a PhD student focusing on the development of PSC electrodes;
Darcy and Thilina - Honours students who will investigate oxygen evolution catalysts and perovskite formation mechanisms, respectively.
Even more people coming soon!
05 Feb 2019 - Congratulations to Hoang-Long on acceptance of his first Monash paper for publication in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering. An immense and very important experimental effort demonstrating that not all N2 reduction catalysts predicted by theory work:
H.-L. Du, T. R. Gengenbach, R. Hodgetts, D. R. MacFarlane, A. N. Simonov, Critical assessment of the electrocatalytic activity of vanadium and niobium nitrides for the reduction of dinitrogen to ammonia. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 2019.
10 Jan 2019 - Another great result from our colleagues at ANU on the application of fast and easy flame-spray deposition technique for the fabrication of efficient photoelectrocatalysts published in a special issue of Energy Technology:
T. Tran-Phu, H. Chen, R. Bo, I. Di Bernardo, Z. Fusco, A. N. Simonov, A. Tricoli, High Temperature One‐Step Synthesis of Efficient Nanostructured BiVO4 Photoanodes for Water Oxidation. Energy Technology, 2019.
27 Dec 2018 - A great way to finish the year! Our paper on the operando analysis of the catalytically active state of the manganese oxide water oxidation electrocatalyst has been accepted for the publication in Angewandte Chemie. An outstanding effort from an outstanding Australia-Germany international team:
M. Tesch, S. Bonke, T. Jones, M. Shaker, J. Xiao, K. Skorupska, R. Mom, J. Melder, P. Kurz, A. Knop-Gericke, R. Schlögl, R. Hocking, A. N. Simonov. Evolution of oxygen‐metal electron transfer and metal electronic states during Mn‐oxide catalyzed water oxidation revealed with in situ soft X‐ray spectroscopy. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2018.
16 Dec 2018 - Congratulations to Narendra on the publication of his work introducing a new class of inorganic photovoltaic materials with tuneable optoelectronic properties and high durability - silver bismuth sulphoiodides. A trully outstanding effort from Narendra and the team. The paper has been published in Advanced Energy Materials :
N. Pai, J. Lu, T. R. Gengenbach, A. Seeber, A. S. R. Chesman, L. Jiang, D. C. Senevirathna, P. C. Andrews, U. Bach, Y.-B. Cheng, A. N. Simonov. Silver Bismuth Sulfoiodide Solar Cells: Tuning Optoelectronic Properties by Sulfde Modifcation for Enhanced Photovoltaic Performance. Advanced Energy Materials, 2018.
10 Oct 2018 - ACS Division of Energy and Fuels (ENFL) has selected Alexandr as the winner of R. A. Glenn Best Paper Award for the presentation at the 256th ACS National Meeting in Boston, MA. The presentation highlighted the most recent research from our group and the group of Prof. Douglas MacFarlane in the design of systems for efficient electroreduction of dinitrogen to ammonia at ambient temperature.
The Glenn award is given to the most innovative and interesting paper presented at each ACS national meeting. The award was established in 1956, by the Division of Fuel Chemistry, in cooperation with Bituminous Coal Research, Inc. In 1972, the award was named in honor of Richard A. Glenn, who served as Assistant Director of Research at Bituminous Coal Research, Inc. and as Chairman of the Fuel Chemistry Division in 1960 and has been awarded since.
27 Sep 2018 - Our fruitful collaboration with A.Prof. Antonio Tricoli (ANU) has produced another interesting paper:
G. Liu, S. K. Karuturi, H. Chen, L. Spiccia, H. H. Tan, C. Jagadish, D. Wang, A. N. Simonov, A. Tricoli. Tuning the Morphology and Structure of Disordered Hematite Photoanodes for Improved Water Oxidation: a Physical and Chemical Synergistic Approach. Nano Energy, 2018.
05 Sep 2018 - The group welcomes new old member - Gaveshana Anu Sepalage. Anu has completed his PhD with Leone, and after a couple of years in industry, rejoins the group as a post-doctoral research fellow to work towards an ARENA-funded project aiming at the development of low-cost electrodes for the perovskite solar cells.
30 Aug 2018 - Our work introducing stable dye-sensitised electrodes for solar-driven water splitting [10.1039/C8SE00056E] is now highlighted as a beautiful artwork on a front cover of Sustainable Energy & Fuels.
23 Aug 2018 - A paper resulting from the collaboration between the groups of Prof. Udo Bach, Prof. Elsa Reichmanis, Dr. Anthony Chesman and Spiccia-Group has been published in ACS Applied Energy Materials:
G. DeLuca, A. N. Jumabekov, Y. Hu, A. N. Simonov, J. Lu, B. Tan, G. W. P. Adhyaksa, E. Garnett, E. Reichmanis, A. S. R. Chesman, U. Bach. Transparent Quasi-Interdigitated Electrodes for Semitransparent Perovskite Back-Contact Solar Cells, ACS Applied Energy Materials, 2018.
26 Jun 2018 - A special issue of ChemPlusChem commemorating the scientific contributions of Leone has been published online in its final form. Twenty two papers by Leone's colleagues and friends that cover three major areas of his outstanding research - Biomimicry and Diagnostic Imaging, Coordination Chemistry and Solar Fuels, have been included in the issue. The Editorial with a brief summary of Leone's impact on science has been contributed by Prof Phil Andrews, A/Prof Lisa Martin and Dr Alexandr Simonov. The front cover and a cover profile article highlight our paper on Zn-porphyrin dyes for p-type dye-sensitised solar cells.
Vale, Leone. Thank you for all wisdom and inspiration you shared with us.
29 Apr 2018 - Very special congratulations to Max on the publication of the work scrutinising the effects of anchoring groups on the performance of dye-sensitised photoanodes for solar driven water splitting.
M. Fournier, D. A. Hogeeveen, S. A. Bonke, L. Spiccia, A. Simonov. Cooperative silanetriolate-carboxylate sensitiser anchoring for outstanding stability and improved performance of dye-sensitised photoelectrodes. Sustainable Energy & Fuels 2018.
25 Apr 2018 - Two big papers from the group have been accepted for publication in respected journals from the Royal Society of Chemistry. A great outcome of the hard work from Manjunath, Jian-Feng and our wonderful colleagues:
M. Chatti, A. M. Glushenkov, T. Gengenbach, G. P. Knowles, T. C. Mendes, A. V. Ellis, L. Spiccia, R. K. Hocking, A. N. Simonov*. Highly-dispersed and disordered nickel-iron layered hydroxides and sulphides: robust and high-activity water oxidation catalysts. Sustainable Energy & Fuels 2018. DOI: 10.1039/C8SE00129D.
J. Lu, X. Lin, X. Jiao, T. Gengenbach, A. D. Scully, L. Jiang, B. Tan, J. Sun, B. Li, N. K. Pai, U. Bach, A. N. Simonov*, Y.-B. Cheng. Interfacial benzenethiol modification facilitates charge transfer and improves stability of cm-sized metal halide perovskite solar cells with up to 20 % efficiency. Energy & Environmental Science 2018. DOI: 10.1039/C8EE00754C
19 Apr 2018 - The special issue of ChemPlusChem dedicated to Leone is now live and continues to grow.
The group has contributed two papers:
J. Lu, Z. Liu, N. Pai, L. Jiang, U. Bach, A. N. Simonov*, Y.-B. Cheng, L. Spiccia. Molecular Engineering of Zinc‐Porphyrin Sensitisers for p‐Type Dye‐Sensitised Solar Cells, DOI: 10.1002/cplu.201800104.
S. A. Bonke, K. L. Abel, D. A. Hoogeveen, M. Chatti, T. Gengenbach, M. Fournier, L. Spiccia, A. N. Simonov*. Electrolysis of natural waters contaminated with transition metal ions: identification of a metastable FePb‐based oxygen evolution catalyst operating in weakly acidic solutions, DOI: 10.1002/cplu.201800020.
15 Mar 2018 - A well-deserved award of Doctor of Philosopy has been conferred upon Dijon A. Hoogeveen for the thesis "Dye-Sensitised Photoelectrodes for Light-Driven Water Splitting", which was assessed as excellent by international examiners. All the hard work allways pays off. Dijon, we wish you the best luck in your future career!
20 Feb 2018 - Our recent collaborative study with Prof. W. H. Casey (UCDavis) and Prof. B. M. Tebo (Oregon Health & Science University) on electron-transfer processes in manganese-oxidising enzyme MnxEFG has been highlighted as a Cover Picture in ChemElectroChem.
30 Jan 2018 - Narendra accepts congratulations on the publication of his first Monash paper reporting on AgBiS2 solar cells in the Journal of Materials Chemistry C:
N. Pai, J. Lu, D. C. Senevirathna, A. S. R. Chesman, T. Gengenbach, M. Chatti, U. Bach, P. C. Andrews, L. Spiccia, Y.-B. Cheng,
A. N. Simonov. Spray deposition of AgBiS2 and Cu3BiS3 thin films for photovoltaic applications, DOI: 10.1039/c7ee02716h.
29 Nov 2017 - Congratulations to Iacopo on conferral of the award of Doctor of Philosophy for his thesis entitled "Novel hole transporting materials for perovskite solar cells”. Bright future awaits you, Dr. Benesperi!
11 Nov 2017 - Alexandr is proud to contribute to the work from the group of Prof. MacFarlane reporting on electrosynthesis of ammonia from molecular nitrogen at ambient temperature and pressure with 60% selectivity that has been just accepted for publication in Energy and Environmental Science:
F. Zhou, L. M. Azofra, M. Ali, M. Kar, A. N. Simonov, C. McDonnell-Worth, C. Sun, X. Zhang, D. R. MacFarlane, Electro-synthesis of Ammonia from Nitrogen at Ambient Temperature and Pressure in Ionic Liquids, DOI: 10.1039/c7ee02716h.
23 Oct 2017 - Dijon accepts congratulations on publication of second paper from his thesis reporting on The Origin of Photo-Electrochemical Generation of Dihydrogen by a Dye-Sensitized Photocathode without an Intentionally-Introduced Catalyst.
D. A Hoogeveen, M. Fournier, S. A. Bonke, A. Nattestad, A. Mishra, P. Bäuerle, L. Spiccia, A. J. Mozer, and A. N. Simonov, J. Phys. Chem. C 2017, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b08067.
15 Sep 2017 - A collection of recent publications from the group on advanced experimental and theoretical electrochemical analysis:
P. M. Usov, A. N. Simonov, A. M. Bond, M. J. Murphy, D. M. D’Alessandro. Untangling Complex Redox Chemistry in Zeolitic Imidazolate Frameworks Using Fourijer Transformed Alternating Current Voltammetry. Analytical Chemistry 2017, DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.7b01224.
D. J. Gavaghan, J. C. Cooper, A. C. Daly, C. Gill, K. Gillow, M. Robinson, A. N Simonov, J. Zhang, A. M. Bond. Use of Bayesian inference for parameter recovery in DC and AC Voltammetry. ChemElectroChem 2017, 2, 1855–1859. DOI: 10.1002/celc.201700678 [Invited paper].
E. Mashkina, A. M. Bond, A. N. Simonov. Limitations in Electrochemical Determination of Mass-Transport Parameters: Implications to Quantification of Electrode Kinetics Using Data Optimisation Methods. Australian Journal of Chemistry 2017. DOI: 10.1071/CH17241 [Invited paper].
G. Kennedy, A. M. Bond, A. N. Simonov. Modelling ac voltammetry with MECSim: Facilitating simulation-experiment comparisons. Current Opinion in Electrochemistry 2017, 1, 140–147. DOI: 10.1016/j.coelec.2016.12.001. [Invited paper]
H. Adamson, M. Robinson, P. S. Bond, B. Soboh, K. Gillow, A. N. Simonov., D. M. Elton, A. M. Bond, R. G. Sawers, D. J. Gavaghan, A. Parkin. Analysis of HypD Disulfide Redox Chemistry via Optimization of Fourier Transformed ac Voltammetric Data. Analytical Chemistry 2017, 89, 1565−1573. DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.6b03589.
30 Aug 2017 - The group welcomes new members: Beck (Rebecca) Hodgetts and Hoang Long Du have started their PhD projects on the exciting topic of electroreduction of molecular nitrogen for sustainable ammonia synthesis.
29 Jul 2017 - A story on the oxidative priming of the manganese-oxide forming protein has been published in two consecutive papers in collaboration with the teams of Prof. William H. Casey (UCDavis) and Prof. Bradley M. Tebo (Oregon Health & Science University):
L. Tao / A. N. Simonov, C.A. Romano, C. N. Butterfield, M. Fekete, B. M. Tebo, A. M. Bond, L. Spiccia, L. L. Martin, W. H. Casey. Biogenic manganese-oxide mineralization is enhanced by an oxidative priming mechanism for the multi-copper oxidase, MnxEFG. Chemistry - A European Journal 2017, 23, 1346–1352 DOI: 10.1002/chem.201603803.
L. Tao / A. N. Simonov, C.A. Romano, C. N. Butterfield, M. Fekete, B. M. Tebo, A. M. Bond, L. Spiccia, L. L. Martin, W. H. Casey. Probing electron transfer in the manganese-oxide-forming MnxEFG protein complex using Fourier transformed ac voltammetry: understanding the oxidative priming effect. ChemElectroChem 2017, DOI: 10.1002/celc.201700563 [Invited paper].
18 Jul 2017 - The leader of our group, Alexandr N. Simonov, has had a first-author article accepted in Chemistry, A European Journal, titled: Tunable biogenic manganese oxides. Reference: A. N. Simonov, R. K. Hocking, L. Tao, T. Gengenbach, T. Williams, X.-Y. Fang, H. J. King, S. A. Bonke, D. A. Hoogeveen, C. A. Romano, B. M. Tebo, L. L. Martin, W. H. Casey and L. Spiccia, Chem. Eur. J., 2017, DOI: 10.1002/chem.201702579.
15 Jul 2017 - Special congratulations to Iacopo: his treatise on the use of a solid-state Fe(2+/3+) redox couple to efficiently transport holes in perovskite solar cells has been accepted for publication in ACS Energy Letters! Polypyridyl Iron Complex as a Hole Transporting Material for Formamidinium Lead Bromide Perovskite Solar Cells by Muhammad Kashif, Iacopo Benesperi, Rebecca Ann Milhuisen, Steffen Meyer, Jack Hellerstedt, David Z. Zee, Noel W. Duffy, Barry Halstead, Michael S Fuhrer, John D. Cashion, Yi-Bing Cheng, Leone Spiccia, Alexandr N. Simonov, and Udo Bach. DOI: 10.1021/acsenergylett.7b00522
6 Jun 2017 - Shravan has been awarded a Doctor of Philosopy degree for his thesis "Novel strategy for obtaining and studying metal complexes: a spectroscopic, computational and electrochemical study of metal complexes with pyridine based ligands". Congratulations and all the best with your future endevours, Dr. Shravan Acharya!
6 Jun 2017 - Congratulations to Anu on the award of Doctor of Philosopy that has been conferred for his thesis "Application of inorganic hole transporting materials in perovskite solar cells". Good luck with you bright future career, Doctor Gaveshana Anuradha Sepalage!
24 May 2017 - Jian-Feng's first Monash paper has just been published in Advanced Energy Materials: Diammonium and Monoammonium Mixed-Organic-Cation Perovskites for High Performance Solar Cells with Improved Stability by J.-F. Lu, L. Jiang, W. Li, F. Li, N. K. Pai, A D. Scully, C.-M. Tsai, U. Bach, A. N. Simonov, Y.-B. Cheng and L. Spiccia. DOI: 10.1002/aenm.201700444.
23 Feb 2017 - Congratulations to Manjunath on his first ACES/Monash paper that has just been accepted for publication in Chemistry of Materials: Vertically Aligned Interlayer Expanded MoS2 Nanosheets on a Carbon Support for Hydrogen Evolution Electrocatalysis by M. Chatti, T. Gengenbach, R. King, L. Spiccia, and A. N. Simonov, DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b00114.
11 Jan 2017 - The award of Doctor of Philosopy has been conferred upon Shannon A. Bonke for the thesis "Towards Light Driven Water Splitting". International thesis assessment from a leader in the field awarded perfect marks. Doctor Shannon A. Bonke has been with Spiccia group since 2012, first completing a Honours Degree of Bachelor of Science with a mark of first class and now a Doctor of Philosophy.
6 Jan 2017 - Shannon A. Bonke has joined Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie as a postdoctoral research fellow within the Institut Nanospektroskopie in Berlin, Germany. There research combining electrocatalysis and electron paramagnetic resonance will be undertaken with Doctor Alexander Schnegg and Professor Klaus Lips in the Berlin Joint EPR Lab and the BESSY-II synchrotron facility.
18 Dec 2016 - Vale, Leone.
25 Nov 2016 - Manjunath Chatti won the best poster award in RACI Inorganic Symposium 2016, held at University of Melbourne. Congratulations Manjunath!
Poster title: Efficient Hydrogen Evolution Catalysis by Vertically Aligned MoS2 Nanosheets Prepared by Microwave Synthesis.
15 Nov 2016 - An article has been accepted today in the Journal of the American Chemical Society focused on quantifying the catalytic parameters of cobalt, nickel and manganese oxides electrodeposited from borate buffer solutions. The article is now on the ACS website.
Parameterization of Water Electrooxidation Catalyzed by Metal Oxides Using Fourier Transformed Alternating Current Voltammetry. Shannon A. Bonke, Alan M. Bond, Leone Spiccia and Alexandr N. Simonov, J. Am. Chem. Soc. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.6b10304
11 Oct 2016 - Congratulations to Dijon on his first ACES/Monash paper that reports on integration of a metallic catalyst into a dye-sensitised photocathode for the H2 generation. DOI: 10.1016/j.electacta.2016.10.029
22 Sep 2016 - The Water Splitting / Synthetic Energy Systems team was back in Canberra for the Full Centre Meeting of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Electromaterials Science (ACES), hosted by Australian National University. Alexandr N. Simonov and Maxime Fournier were discussion leaders, Dijon A. Hoogeveen delivered a talk, while Shannon A. Bonke and Manjunath Chatti were also in attendance.
13 Sep 2016 - Shannon A. Bonke has had an interview about artificial photosynthesis with Nic Healey from 2SER Breakfast Radio, broadcast in Sydney, Australia. The interview is available in full on the station website: Are plants the answer for renewable fuels?
8 Sep 2016 - Shannon A. Bonke has had an article published in The Conversation explaining the concept of Solar Fuels to the non-scientific audience. In a sentence the argument is that solar panels cannot power society without storage, but using their power to reassemble fuel and burn it again at night creates a clean and infinite fuel supply.
The article Let’s chemically rebuild fossil fuels to create sustainable energy can be read in full here
7 Sep 2016 - Members of the Water Splitting / Synthetic Energy Systems team attended the Advancing energy sustainability by governance leadership in artificial photosynthesis meeting at Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. Organised by Professor Thomas Faunce, the meeting discussed the requirements for a Global Artificial Photosynthesis Project. Shannon A. Bonke and Dijon A. Hoogeveen delivered talks and Manjunath Chatti was also in attendance.
23 Aug 2016 - Manda Xiao’s PhD thesis titled “High performance hybrid thin film solar cells” was ratified.
29 Jun 2016 - Iacopo Benesperi participated to the 2016 edition of the HOPV conference in Swansea, where he presented a poster with the title "Polypyridyl Iron Complex as Hole Transporting Material for Organic-Inorganic Perovskite Solar Cells".
15 June 2016 - 3rd year Monash Chemistry student Jarrah Clarke has just completed his research project at Spiccia's group under supervision of Maxime Fournier, Dijon Hoogeven and Alexandr Simonov. Following a recent study from our group (Bonke, S. A., M. Wiechen, D. R. MacFarlane and L. Spiccia (2015). Renewable fuels from concentrated solar power: towards practical artificial photosynthesis. Energy Environ. Sci. 8: 2791-2796), he constructed a 1.5 A electrolyser and powered it with a photovoltaic cell working under concentrated solar light. Field tests were undertaken on the roof of the new GCF building at Monash Clayton Campus.
5 May 2016 - Shannon A. Bonke arrives at Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie for measurements at the BESSY-II synchrotron facility with Doctor Marc Tesch, within the research group of Professor Emad F. Aziz.
Following this he will work with Doctor Alexander Schnegg within the HZB Institut Nanospektroskopie for almost one month.
7 Mar 2016 - Shannon A. Bonke joins the research group of Professor Patrick R. Unwin at the University of Warwick for two months. All involved thank the ED-RACI and RSC-EIG for contributing funding through the award of a travel grant.
4 Mar 2016 - Shannon A. Bonke has attended the 2016 Gordon Research Conference on Solar Fuels in Lucca, Italy. He has delivered a talk at the associated GRS seminar and presented a poster on the record 22% solar to hydrogen energy conversion efficiency published in Energy & Environmental Science 2015.
2 Mar 2016 - The group welcomes Ganesharajah Mayoorini, a new Ph.D. student in the coordination chemistry group, who will work on sensors based on electrochemically sensitized luminescence.
11 Feb 2016 - Dr Alexandr N. Simonov was a speaker and won the award for best talk at the 11th International Electromaterials Science Symposium, held at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. Members of the Water Splsitting / Synthetic Energy Systems team were in the audience at the symposium. Alexandr presented his work on photoelectrochemical water oxidation with TaON and metal oxide catalysts that was recently published in ChemElectroChem, Volume 2, Issue 9, pages 1270–1278, September 2015 (paper).
20 Nov 2015 - We are pleased to announce that Robbin Vernooij has won an award for the best poster at the RACI Victoria Inorganic Chemistry Symposium 2015. Poster title: vibrational spectroscopic studies of photoactivatable diazido Pt(IV) anticancer complexes.
12 Nov 2015 - Shannon A. Bonke has been awarded a grant through the Australia/UK (PhD) student exchange initiative offered by The Electrochemistry Division of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute and The Royal Society of Chemistry Electrochemistry Interest Group. Shannon will be a visiting researcher at the University of Warwick, UK, working with Professor Patrick R. Unwin. The aim of the visit is to examine catalytic electrodes with scanning electrochemical techniques.
11 Aug 2015 - A new publication focused on solar powered water splitting has been published in Energy & Environmental Science. Therein a 22% solar-to-fuel energy conversion efficiency is reported, the highest efficiency to be reported within the scientific literature. The paper describes an optimised pairing of components to reach this record efficiency. The article can be found on the RSC website.
Renewable fuels from concentrated solar power: towards practical artificial photosynthesis. S. A. Bonke, M. Wiechen, D. R. MacFarlane and L. Spiccia, Energy Environ. Sci., 2015, 8, 2791-2796. DOI: 10.1039/C5EE02214B.
30 Mar 2015 - The group welcomes Jessica Ainger-Brown, a visiting student from University of Warwick, UK working on synthesis and characterisation of metal complexes as solid-state HTMs