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

Carbon nanotube optics poised to provide pathway to optical-based quantum cryptography and quantum computing: Researchers are exploring enhanced potential of carbon nanotubes for unique applications June 18th, 2018

Camouflaged nanoparticles used to deliver killer protein to cancer June 17th, 2018

Squeezing light at the nanoscale: Ultra-confined light could detect harmful molecules June 17th, 2018

Physicists devise method to reveal how light affects materials: The new method adds to the understanding of the fundamental laws governing the interaction of electrons and light June 15th, 2018

Discoveries

Carbon nanotube optics poised to provide pathway to optical-based quantum cryptography and quantum computing: Researchers are exploring enhanced potential of carbon nanotubes for unique applications June 18th, 2018

Camouflaged nanoparticles used to deliver killer protein to cancer June 17th, 2018

Squeezing light at the nanoscale: Ultra-confined light could detect harmful molecules June 17th, 2018

Physicists devise method to reveal how light affects materials: The new method adds to the understanding of the fundamental laws governing the interaction of electrons and light June 15th, 2018

Announcements

Carbon nanotube optics poised to provide pathway to optical-based quantum cryptography and quantum computing: Researchers are exploring enhanced potential of carbon nanotubes for unique applications June 18th, 2018

Camouflaged nanoparticles used to deliver killer protein to cancer June 17th, 2018

Squeezing light at the nanoscale: Ultra-confined light could detect harmful molecules June 17th, 2018

Physicists devise method to reveal how light affects materials: The new method adds to the understanding of the fundamental laws governing the interaction of electrons and light June 15th, 2018

Energy

Physicists devise method to reveal how light affects materials: The new method adds to the understanding of the fundamental laws governing the interaction of electrons and light June 15th, 2018

Tripling the Energy Storage of Lithium-Ion Batteries: Scientists have synthesized a new cathode material from iron fluoride that surpasses the capacity limits of traditional lithium-ion batteries June 14th, 2018

Remote control of transport through nanopores: New study outlines key factors affecting the transfer of molecules through biological channels May 24th, 2018

Team achieves two-electron chemical reactions using light energy, gold May 15th, 2018

Fuel Cells

Harvesting clean hydrogen fuel through artificial photosynthesis May 3rd, 2018

A new way to find better battery materials: Design principles could point to better electrolytes for next-generation lithium batteries March 29th, 2018

Rice sleuths find metal in 'metal-free' catalysts: Study of graphene catalysts finds trace of manganese, suggests better ultrathin fuel-cell components February 26th, 2018

Study boosts hope for cheaper fuel cells: Rice University researchers show how to optimize nanomaterials for fuel-cell cathodes January 6th, 2018

Solar/Photovoltaic

Team achieves two-electron chemical reactions using light energy, gold May 15th, 2018

Hematene joins parade of new 2D materials: Rice University-led team extracts 3-atom-thick sheets from common iron oxide May 8th, 2018

Harvesting clean hydrogen fuel through artificial photosynthesis May 3rd, 2018

Research gives new ray of hope for solar fuel April 27th, 2018

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



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project