Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Brown Chemist Finds Platinum Nanocube Enhances Fuel Cell Operation

 The Making of a Platinum Nanocube On the left is a transmission electron microscopy image of 7 nanometer platinum nanocubes used for oxygen reduction reaction. In the upper right corner of this image is a high resolution picture of a single cube. On the right is an illustration demonstrating the oxygen reduction on a Pt(100) surface of a cube. Credit: Courtesy of Chao Wang/Brown University
The Making of a Platinum Nanocube On the left is a transmission electron microscopy image of 7 nanometer platinum nanocubes used for oxygen reduction reaction. In the upper right corner of this image is a high resolution picture of a single cube. On the right is an illustration demonstrating the oxygen reduction on a Pt(100) surface of a cube.

Credit: Courtesy of Chao Wang/Brown University

Abstract:
A team of chemists at Brown University for the first time has consistently created uniform platinum nanocubes, a breakthrough that could make hydrogen fuel cells more efficient and less costly.

Brown Chemist Finds Platinum Nanocube Enhances Fuel Cell Operation

Providence, RI | Posted on April 21st, 2008

Two great obstacles to hydrogen-powered vehicles lie with fuel cells. Fuel cells, which like batteries produce electrical power through chemical reactions, have been plagued by their relatively low efficiency and high production costs. Scientists have tested a wide assortment of metals and materials to overcome the twin challenge.

Now a team led by Brown University chemistry Professor Shouheng Sun has mastered a Rubik's Cube-like dilemma for dealing with platinum, a precious metal coveted for its ability to boost a chemical reaction in fuel cells. They show that shaping platinum into a cube greatly enhances its efficiency in a phase of the fuel cell's operation known as oxygen reduction reaction. Sun's results have been published online in the journal Angewandte Chemie. The paper was selected as a Very Important Paper, reserved for less than five percent of manuscripts submitted to the peer-reviewed journal.

Platinum helps reduce the energy barrier - the amount of energy needed to start a reaction - in the oxidation phase of a fuel cell. It is also seen as beneficial on the other end of the fuel cell, known as the cathode. There, platinum has been shown to assist in oxygen reduction, a process in which electrons peeled from hydrogen atoms join with oxygen atoms to create electrical energy. The reaction also is important because it only produces water. This byproduct - rather than the global warming gas carbon dioxide - is a big reason why hydrogen fuel cells are a tantalizing area of research from carmakers in Detroit to policymakers in Washington.

But scientists have had trouble maximizing platinum's potential in the oxygen reduction reaction. The barriers chiefly revolve around shape and surface area - geometry and geography, so to speak. What Sun has learned is that molding platinum into a cube on the nanoscale enhances its catalysis - that is, it boosts the rate of a chemical reaction.

"For the first time, we can control the morphology of the particle to make it more like a cube," Sun said. "People have had very limited control over this process before. Now we have shown it can be done uniformly and consistently."

During his experiments, Sun, along with Brown graduate engineering student Chao Wang and engineers from the Japanese firm Hitachi Maxwell Ltd., created polyhedron and cube shapes of different sizes by adding platinum acetylacetonate (Pt(acac)2) and a trace amount of iron pentacarbonyl (Fe(CO)5) at specific temperature ranges. The team found that cubes were more efficient catalysts, owing largely to their surface structure and their resistance to being absorbed by the sulfate in the fuel cell solution.

"For this reaction, the shape is more important than the size," Sun said.

The next step, Sun added, is to build a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell and test the platinum nanocubes as catalysts in it. The team expects the experiments will yield fuel cells with a higher electrical output than previous versions.

"It's like science fiction, but we're a step closer now to the reality of developing a very efficient platinum catalyst for hydrogen cars that produce only water as exhaust," Sun said.

Hitachi Maxell chemical engineers Hideo Daimon, Taigo Ondera and Tetsunori Koda, a visiting engineer at Brown, contributed to the research.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and by the Office of the Vice President of Research at Brown University through its Research Seed Fund.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Richard Lewis
(401) 863-3766

Copyright © Brown 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

Continuous roll-process technology for transferring and packaging flexible LSI August 29th, 2016

Meteorite impact on a nano scale August 29th, 2016

Designing ultrasound tools with Lego-like proteins August 29th, 2016

A nanoscale wireless communication system via plasmonic antennas: Greater control affords 'in-plane' transmission of waves at or near visible light August 27th, 2016

Announcements

Continuous roll-process technology for transferring and packaging flexible LSI August 29th, 2016

Meteorite impact on a nano scale August 29th, 2016

Designing ultrasound tools with Lego-like proteins August 29th, 2016

A nanoscale wireless communication system via plasmonic antennas: Greater control affords 'in-plane' transmission of waves at or near visible light August 27th, 2016

Energy

New electrical energy storage material shows its power: Nanomaterial combines attributes of both batteries and supercapacitors August 25th, 2016

Lehigh engineer discovers a high-speed nano-avalanche: New findings published in the Journal of Electrochemical Society about the process involving transformations in glass that occur under intense electrical and thermal conditions could lead the way to more energy-efficient glas August 24th, 2016

New flexible material can make any window 'smart' August 23rd, 2016

Researchers reduce expensive noble metals for fuel cell reactions August 22nd, 2016

Fuel Cells

Researchers reduce expensive noble metals for fuel cell reactions August 22nd, 2016

W.M. Keck Foundation awards Cal State LA a $375,000 research and education grant August 4th, 2016

Proton pinball on the catalyst: Moisture helps catalyst in fuel cells August 3rd, 2016

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic