Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > 'One-pot' process can make more-efficient materials for fuel cells and solar cells

Provided/Ulrich Wiesner
In the CASH (combined assembly by soft and hard chemistries) process, a polymer forms itself into ordered rows of cylinders surrounded by a metal oxide. Heating in the absence of oxygen turns the polymer into a hard carbon framework that holds its shape while the metal oxide is heated to a higher temperature to make it form uniform crystals. Finally, heating in air burns off the carbon to leave a porous material.
Provided/Ulrich Wiesner
In the CASH (combined assembly by soft and hard chemistries) process, a polymer forms itself into ordered rows of cylinders surrounded by a metal oxide. Heating in the absence of oxygen turns the polymer into a hard carbon framework that holds its shape while the metal oxide is heated to a higher temperature to make it form uniform crystals. Finally, heating in air burns off the carbon to leave a porous material.

Abstract:
Cornell researchers have developed a "one-pot" process to create porous films of crystalline metal oxides that could lead to more-efficient fuel cells and solar cells.

'One-pot' process can make more-efficient materials for fuel cells and solar cells

ITHACA, NY | Posted on January 28th, 2008

In a fuel cell, a material with nanoscale pores offers more surface area over which a fuel can interact with a catalyst. Similarly in solar cells, a porous material offers more surface area over which light can be absorbed, so more of it is converted to electricity.

Previously such porous materials have been made on hard templates of carbon or silica, or by using soft polymers that self-assemble into a foamy structure. Making a hard porous template and getting the metal oxides to distribute evenly through it is tedious. The polymer approach is easier and makes a good structure, but the metal oxides must be heated to high temperatures to fully crystallize, and this causes the polymer pores to collapse.

The Cornell researchers have combined what Ulrich Wiesner, Cornell professor of materials science and engineering, calls "the best of the two approaches," using a soft block copolymer called poly(isoprene-block-ethylene oxide) or PI-b-PEO that carbonizes when heated to high temperatures in an inert gas, providing a hard framework around which the metal oxide crystallizes. Subsequent heating in air burns away the carbon. Wiesner calls this "combined assembly by soft and hard chemistries," or CASH.

The research is described in an online paper in the journal Nature Materials by Wiesner, Francis DiSalvo, the J.A. Newman Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and colleagues.

The researchers created porous films of titanium oxide, used in solar cells, and niobium oxide, a potential fuel-cell catalyst support. Chemicals that will react to form the metal oxides and a solution of PI-b-PEO are combined. As the reaction proceeds, the PI portion of the copolymer forms cylinders some 20 nanometers across surrounded by metal oxides, and subsequent heat treatments leave uniform, highly crystalline metal oxide with cylindrical pores. The pores are neatly ordered in hexagonal patterns, which creates a larger surface area than if the pores were randomly distributed. "When the pores are ordered, you can get more of them into the same space," Wiesner explains.

The resulting materials were examined by electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and a variety of other techniques, all of which confirmed a highly crystalline structure and a uniform porosity, the researchers reported.

The next step, Wiesner said, is to apply the CASH process to the creation of porous metals.

Co-authors of the Nature Materials paper are postdoctoral researcher Jinwoo Lee and graduate research assistants M. Christopher Orilall, Scott Warren and Marleen Kampeman.

####

About Cornell University
The strategic plan for research at Cornell can be summed up simply: Be the best at what we undertake to do. The research enterprise supports university research priorities: the New Life Sciences; cross-college collaborations; and enabling research areas--computing and information sciences, genomics, advanced materials, and nanoscience. We build on our strengths when creating programs, recruiting faculty, purchasing equipment, and supporting interdisciplinary programs. Cornell research is committed to knowledge transfer and engages in technology transfer and economic development activities that benefit local, regional, national, and international constituents.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Chronicle Online
312 College Ave.
Ithaca, NY 14850
607.255.4206


Bill Steele

Copyright © Cornell University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Webcast Fiscal 2017 Third Quarter Results July 27th, 2017

Strange electrons break the crystal symmetry of high-temperature superconductors: Brookhaven Lab scientists discover spontaneous voltage perpendicular to applied current that may help unravel the mystery of high-temperature superconductors July 27th, 2017

Getting closer to porous, light-responsive materials: A new flexible material changes its porous nature when exposed to light July 27th, 2017

First Capacitive Transducer with 13nm Gap July 27th, 2017

Discoveries

Physicists gain new insights into nanosystems with spherical confinement: Enormous potential for the targeted delivery of pharmaceutical agents and the creation of tailored nanoparticles July 27th, 2017

Strange electrons break the crystal symmetry of high-temperature superconductors: Brookhaven Lab scientists discover spontaneous voltage perpendicular to applied current that may help unravel the mystery of high-temperature superconductors July 27th, 2017

Getting closer to porous, light-responsive materials: A new flexible material changes its porous nature when exposed to light July 27th, 2017

First Capacitive Transducer with 13nm Gap July 27th, 2017

Announcements

Rice U. scientists map ways forward for lithium-ion batteries for extreme environments: Paper details developments toward high-temperature batteries July 27th, 2017

Ultracold molecules hold promise for quantum computing: New approach yields long-lasting configurations that could provide long-sought “qubit” material July 27th, 2017

Atomic discovery opens door to greener, faster, smaller electronic circuitry: Scientists find way to correct communication pathways in silicon chips, making them perfect July 27th, 2017

Physicists gain new insights into nanosystems with spherical confinement: Enormous potential for the targeted delivery of pharmaceutical agents and the creation of tailored nanoparticles July 27th, 2017

Energy

Strange electrons break the crystal symmetry of high-temperature superconductors: Brookhaven Lab scientists discover spontaneous voltage perpendicular to applied current that may help unravel the mystery of high-temperature superconductors July 27th, 2017

'Upconverted' light has a bright future: Rice University professor developing plasmon-powered devices for medicine, security, solar cells July 17th, 2017

Making two out of one: FAU researchers have explained the mechanism behind a process that can increase the efficiency of organic solar cells July 12th, 2017

Argonne National Laboratory’s Continuous ALD Technology Licensed Exclusively to Forge Nano July 7th, 2017

Fuel Cells

Argonne National Laboratory’s Continuous ALD Technology Licensed Exclusively to Forge Nano July 7th, 2017

Electrocatalyst nanostructures key to improved fuel cells, electrolyzers June 5th, 2017

Stanford scientists use nanotechnology to boost the performance of key industrial catalyst May 18th, 2017

MIT Energy Initiative awards 10 seed fund grants for early-stage energy research May 4th, 2017

Solar/Photovoltaic

'Upconverted' light has a bright future: Rice University professor developing plasmon-powered devices for medicine, security, solar cells July 17th, 2017

Making two out of one: FAU researchers have explained the mechanism behind a process that can increase the efficiency of organic solar cells July 12th, 2017

Thinking thin brings new layering and thermal abilities to the semiconductor industry: In a breakthrough for the semiconductor industry, researchers demonstrate a new layer transfer technique called "controlled spalling" that creates many thin layers from a single gallium nitride July 11th, 2017

Tiny bubbles provide tremendous propulsion in new microparticles research-Ben-Gurion U. June 21st, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project