Home > Press > Saving Platinum
|How low can you go? The lower limits of platinum loading, in the sub-monolayer to monolayer range, are explored for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). A low-cost substrate material, tungsten monocarbide (see picture; W blue, C small gray spheres) is capable of supporting monolayer amounts of platinum (large blue-gray spheres) to produce an electrocatalyst with the same HER activity as bulk platinum.|
Monolayer of platinum atoms on a tungsten carbide support catalyzes the electrolytic production of hydrogen effectively and cheaply
Weinheim, Germany | Posted on October 15th, 2010
Hydrogen is one of the most promising fuels of the future. Whether powered by wind or sun energy, electrolysis of water is the method of choice for producing hydrogen without emission of carbon dioxide. The character and properties of the hydrogen-producing catalyst, usually platinum, are of critical importance for the efficiency and cost of the electrocatalytic system. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, Jingguang G. Chen and a team at the University of Delaware (USA) have now introduced a new method for saving on platinum without losing efficiency: they deposit a single layer of platinum atoms onto an inexpensive tungsten carbide support.
Splitting water by electrolysis to produce hydrogen only works efficiently if the cathode, the cell's negative electrode, is equipped with an efficient catalyst. Platinum is the material of choice because of its high activity—unfortunately it is very expensive, currently costing around 52 dollars a gram. "Its high price and limited availability are the biggest stumbling blocks on the way to the mass production of hydrogen through electrolysis," explains Chen.
Current attempts to save on platinum by depositing platinum particles onto a support, have not been efficient enough. The platinum atoms often settle too far inside the porous support and are shielded from the reaction. Says Chen, "Our aim was to deposit a single layer of platinum atoms onto an inexpensive planar support so that all the platinum atoms can participate in the reaction."
The problem with this method is that if such a monolayer of metal atoms is deposited onto a support, the atoms interact with the substrate. The electronic structure of the atoms can change because the distances between the individual atoms in the layer can be different from those in the pure metal. In addition, bonding between the platinum and atoms of the support can lead to undesired effects. This can greatly disrupt the catalytic properties.
Chen and his team selected tungsten carbide as a carrier. This inexpensive material has properties very similar to those of platinum. They deposited thin films of tungsten carbide onto a tungsten substrate and added platinum atoms by vapor deposition. The chemical and electronic properties of these atomic platinum monolayers on tungsten carbide did not differ significantly from those of a block of pure platinum. The catalytic efficiency of the supported platinum monolayer is also correspondingly strong.
"Tungsten carbide is the ideal substrate for platinum," says Chen. "It is possible to use significantly smaller amounts of platinum, which reduces the cost—possibly not just for water electrolysis, but also in other platinum-catalyzed processes."
Author: Jingguang G. Chen, University of Delaware, Newark (USA),
Title: Low-Cost Hydrogen-Evolution Catalysts Based on Monolayer Platinum on Tungsten Monocarbide Substrates
Angewandte Chemie International Edition
Permalink to the article: dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201004718
For more information, please click here
Copyright © Angewandte Chemie International Edition
If you have a comment, please Contact
Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.
News and information
Aspen Aerogels Announces $22.5 Million Private Placement May 18th, 2013
NanoInk, Inc. Assets To Be Sold May 18th, 2013
Beautiful "flowers" self-assemble in a beaker: Elaborate nanostructures blossom from a chemical reaction perfected at Harvard May 17th, 2013
Scientists capture first direct proof of Hofstadter butterfly effect May 17th, 2013
Lifeboat publishes its first book: The Lifeboat Foundation has published its first book, "The Human Race to the Future: What Could Happen -- and What to Do" May 14th, 2013
UC Santa Barbara History Professor's Book Elucidates, Celebrates ‘Visioneers' May 14th, 2013
Conceptual Nanomedical Lipofuscin Removal Strategy April 29th, 2013
The Global Desalination Market 2013-2023 April 24th, 2013
Inaugural Baccalaureate Class Among CNSE Graduates to Pursue Opportunities in New York: Half of undergrads from pioneering class to seek graduate degrees at CNSE; majority of master’s and doctoral degree recipients land high-tech jobs in state’s emerging nanotech industry May 16th, 2013
Anasys reports on University of Illinois study of near-field behavior of semiconductor plasmonic microparticles using AFM-IR published in APL May 14th, 2013
The University of Wyoming uses Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis to characterize nanoparticles in natural environments May 14th, 2013
Nanotechnology Pioneer Named 'Entrepreneur of the Year': Royal Society of Chemistry honors Chad Mirkin for commercializing innovations May 10th, 2013
Artificial Forest for Solar Water-Splitting: Berkeley Lab Researchers Report First Fully Integrated Artificial Photosynthesis Nanosystem May 17th, 2013
Moth-Inspired Nanostructures Take the Color Out of Thin Films May 17th, 2013
Solar panels as inexpensive as paint? It’s possible due to research at UB, elsewhere May 13th, 2013
Flawed Diamonds Promise Sensory Perfection: Berkeley Lab researchers and their colleagues extend electron spin in diamond for incredibly tiny magnetic detectors May 10th, 2013
Researchers develop unique method for creating uniform nanoparticles May 6th, 2013
Surface diffusion plays a key role in defining the shapes of catalytic nanoparticles April 8th, 2013
Nanoparticles Combined with Light Reverses Rusting April 1st, 2013
Hydrogen stores wind and solar energy: Innovative "Power-to-Gas" concepts at Hannover Messe March 7th, 2013
NIA Public Briefing: Nanotechnology and the Council of Europe May 17th, 2013
Imec and Renesas collaborate on ultra-low power short range radios: Collaboration will develop robust wireless solutions for future electronics May 16th, 2013
HELIOS Program Develops Complete Supply Chain for Integrating Photonics with CMOS Circuit via IC Fabrication Processes May 14th, 2013
Silex Microsystems Joins ENIAC Project PROMINENT To Bring Flexible and Cost Effective Inkjet Technologies to the MEMS Manufacturing Process: Silex Will Develop New Solutions for Through-Silicon Via Manufacture and Hermetic Wafer Bonding May 13th, 2013