Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Testing predictions in electrochemical nanosystems

Abstract:
From theoretical insights to the lab bench

Testing predictions in electrochemical nanosystems

Garching, Germany | Posted on June 7th, 2010

Physicists at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) are gearing up for experimental tests of findings they arrived at through theoretical considerations: that electrochemical reactions take place more rapidly on isolated, nanometer-scale electrodes than on their familiar macroscopic counterparts, and that this surprising behavior is caused by thermal noise. Prof. Katharina Krischer and Dr. Vladimir Garcia-Morales published their results earlier this year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The project is supported by the TUM Institute for Advanced Study, which emphasizes scientifically "risky" research that may have potential for creating new fields of technology.

Familiar processes take unfamiliar turns when they're observed on the nanoscale, where models that accurately describe macroscopic phenomena may not be reliable, or even applicable. Electrochemical reactions, for example, which normally appear to proceed smoothly, seem to halt and stumble in the nanoworld. When the electrodes involved are less than ten nanometers wide, chance plays a bigger role: Random movement of molecules makes the exact timing of reactions unpredictable.

Now, however, just such a process can be described by a theoretical model developed by the TUM physicists. They demonstrated their method in a study of nanoscale reactions, published in PNAS, which presented a new electrochemical "master equation" underlying the model. Their results show that thermal noise -- that is, the randomness of molecular movement and individual electron-transfer reactions -- actually plays a constructive role in a nanoscale electrochemical system, enhancing reaction rates.

"The effect predicted is robust," says Dr. Vladimir Garcia-Morales, recently named a Carl von Linde Junior Fellow of the TUM Institute for Advanced Study, "and it should show up in many experimental situations." To see for themselves, the researchers have turned their attention from the chalkboard and the computer to the lab bench. Their experiments present several technical challenges. One is not only to fabricate disk-shaped electrodes with a radius of just three to ten nanometers, but also to determine the electrode area accurately. Another tough requirement is setting up the electronics to minimize noise from external sources, to make sure the influence of internal, molecular noise can be observed.

"An important aspect," Dr. Garcia-Morales says, "is that the reported effect can change our view on the collective properties of many electrodes. Common intuition suggests that if one makes the electrode area ten times as large, the current would be ten times as high. But, as we show with our theory, the proportionality does not hold any more when the electrode dimension becomes as small as a few nanometers."

Experimental validation could also help to transpose the TUM researchers' theory to a variety of situations. They say their method accounts for effects that macroscopic models can't explain and could prove useful in addressing a variety of research questions. "The applicability of the electrochemical master equation is in fact beyond the specific problem addressed in the publication," Prof. Katharina Krischer stresses. "It establishes a general framework for stochastic processes involving electron-transfer reactions. For example, we now use it to predict the quality of electrochemical clocks at the nanoscale."

Support for this research has come from the European Union (Project DYNAMO), the Nanosystem Initiative Muenchen Cluster of Excellence, and the TUM Institute for Advanced Study.

Original publication:

Fluctuation enhanced electrochemical reaction rates at the nanoscale, Vladimir Garcia-Morales and Katharina Krischer, PNAS 107, 4528� (2010). Doi: 10.1073/pnas.0909240107

####

About Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) is one of Europe's leading universities. It has roughly 420 professors, 7,500 academic and non-academic staff (including those at the university hospital "Rechts der Isar"), and 24,000 students. It focuses on the engineering sciences, natural sciences, life sciences, medicine, and economic sciences. After winning numerous awards, it was selected as an "Elite University" in 2006 by the Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat) and the German Research Foundation (DFG). The university's global network includes an outpost in Singapore. TUM is dedicated to the ideal of a top-level research based entrepreneurial university.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Patrick Regan

49-892-891-0515

Prof. Katharina Krischer
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Department of Physics (E19a)
James-Franck-Str. 1
85748 Garching, Germany
Tel: +49 89 289 12535
Fax: +49 89 289 12338

Copyright © Eurekalert

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

Oxford Instruments announces Dr Kate Ross as winner of the 2018 Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize for North and South America February 20th, 2018

Computers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high color quality February 20th, 2018

Unconventional superconductor may be used to create quantum computers of the future: They have probably succeeded in creating a topological superconductor February 19th, 2018

Photonic chip guides single photons, even when there are bends in the road February 16th, 2018

Physics

Liquid crystal molecules form nano rings: Quantized self-assembly enables design of materials with novel properties February 7th, 2018

New exotic phenomena seen in photonic crystals: Researchers observe, for the first time, topological effects unique to an “open” system January 12th, 2018

Columbia engineers create artificial graphene in a nanofabricated semiconductor structure: Researchers are the first to observe the electronic structure of graphene in an engineered semiconductor; finding could lead to progress in advanced optoelectronics and data processing December 13th, 2017

Leti Develops World’s First Micro-Coolers for CERN Particle Detectors: Leti Design, Fabrication and Packaging Expertise Extends to Very Large Scientific Instruments December 11th, 2017

NEMS

Leti Scientists Participating in Sessions on Med Tech, Automotive Technologies, MEMS, Si-photonics and Lithography at SEMICON Europa: Teams also Will Demonstrate Technology Advances in Telecom, Data Fusion, Energy, Silicon Photonics and 3D Integration October 18th, 2016

Integration of novel materials with silicon chips makes new 'smart' devices possible July 25th, 2016

Nano-photonics meets nano-mechanics: Controlling on-chip nano-optics by graphene nano-opto-mechanics January 22nd, 2016

Mechanical quanta see the light January 20th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Computers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high color quality February 20th, 2018

Arrowhead Receives Regulatory Clearance to Begin Phase 1/2 Study of ARO-HBV for Treatment of Hepatitis B February 15th, 2018

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Receives Orphan Drug Designation for ARO-AAT February 15th, 2018

Rutgers-Led Innovation Could Spur Faster, Cheaper, Nano-Based Manufacturing: Scalable and cost-effective manufacturing of thin film devices February 14th, 2018

Academic/Education

Luleĺ University of Technology is using the Deben CT5000TEC stage to perform x-ray microtomography experiments with the ZEISS Xradia 510 Versa to understand deformation and strain inside inhomogeneous materials November 7th, 2017

Park Systems Announces the Grand Opening of the Park NanoScience Center at SUNY Polytechnic Institute November 3rd, 2017

Two Scientists Receive Grants to Develop New Materials: Chad Mirkin and Monica Olvera de la Cruz recognized by Sherman Fairchild Foundation August 16th, 2017

Moving at the Speed of Light: University of Arizona selected for high-impact, industrial demonstration of new integrated photonic cryogenic datalink for focal plane arrays: Program is major milestone for AIM Photonics August 10th, 2017

Announcements

Oxford Instruments announces Dr Kate Ross as winner of the 2018 Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize for North and South America February 20th, 2018

Computers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high color quality February 20th, 2018

Unconventional superconductor may be used to create quantum computers of the future: They have probably succeeded in creating a topological superconductor February 19th, 2018

Photonic chip guides single photons, even when there are bends in the road February 16th, 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