Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Molecules Are Sensitive to Their Surroundings

Diffraction studies provided the insights needed to understand key molecules in hydrogen storage
Diffraction studies provided the insights needed to understand key molecules in hydrogen storage

Abstract:
Structure of hydrogen storage molecule solved, once orientation of nearby ions elucidated

Molecules Are Sensitive to Their Surroundings

Richland, WA | Posted on February 8th, 2011

Results: For nearly a century, nobody knew how the little molecule that's in the middle of many of today's hydrogen storage and release concepts was organized. Thanks to an interdisciplinary team of scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory, the structure of this molecule, known as DADB, has been determined. And DADB's structure was exactly opposite of what was expected in more ways than one.

"The irony," said Dr. Tom Autrey, the PNNL scientist who led the research, "is that the structure could not be that complex." The challenge was in understanding how one structure, containing a pair of nitrogen and boron atoms surrounded by only 12 hydrogen atoms, stretched and twisted in the solid molecular crystal.

Why it matters: Running cars on fossil fuels presents growing problems, economically, politically, and environmentally. Replacing fossil fuels with hydrogen and fuel cells is an attractive option. Determining the structure of DADB, created at the initial stages when hydrogen is released from the popular hydrogen storage material ammonia borane, allows scientists to accurately model and predict complex, molecular reactions in the solid state. Understanding the subtleties of the structure of DADB also provides insights into developing new materials with the perfect properties to store energy in chemical bonds for efficient fuel cell operations.

Methods: The team began by synthesizing the DADB using a new method they developed that allowed the molecular crystal to slowly form at room temperature. They used solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to study the molecule. The NMR spectrum of the molecular crystal was surprisingly different than the NMR spectrum of the molecular complex in solution. The team felt that the hydrogen atoms in the molecular crystal might be influencing the arrangement of atoms.

"Theoreticians couldn't accurately predict the structure, and experimentalists weren't getting all the information needed with NMR," said Dr. Gregory Schenter, a chemical theorist on the study. "So, we used neutron diffraction to see the missing pieces. It took a while, but we got that ‘ah-ha' moment."

With the added diffraction data, they could arrange the atoms in a pattern that explained the results they'd seen. "Mark Bowden solved the 100-year-old puzzle," said Autrey of his PNNL colleague. "He showed how the molecule's structure was affected by the interactions with the neighboring molecules."

This research resulted in two different arrangements of borohydride ions (BH4-) giving the molecule its unique twisted structure.

What's next? This work is part of a series of broader efforts at PNNL to answer the fundamental questions around how to activate hydrogen for use in catalytic reactions as well as energy storage in chemical bonds for use in fuel cell applications. These fundamental studies are needed if the United States is to develop novel methods to store energy from solar and other intermittent clean energy sources.

Acknowledgments: The Department of Energy's Office of Basic Energy Sciences funded this research.

The work was done in DOE's EMSL, a national scientific user facility at PNNL, and the Manuel Lujan Jr. Center operated by Los Alamos National Security LLC.

The work was done by Mark Bowden, David J. Heldebrant, Abhi Karkamkar, Gregory K. Schenter, and Tom Autrey of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory along with Thomas Proffen of Lujan Neutron Scattering Center, Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Reference: Bowden M, DJ Heldebrant, A Karkamkar, T Proffen, GK Schenter, and T Autrey. 2010. "The diammoniate of diborane: Crystal structure and hydrogen release." Chemical Communications 46, 8564-8566.

####

For more information, please click here

Copyright © Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

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

Scientists change properties of zeolites to improve hemodialysis July 29th, 2016

Novel state of matter: Observation of a quantum spin liquid July 29th, 2016

A new type of quantum bits July 29th, 2016

Lonely atoms, happily reunited July 29th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

A new type of quantum bits July 29th, 2016

Thomas Swan and NGI announce unique partnership July 28th, 2016

Penn team uses nanoparticles to break up plaque and prevent cavities July 28th, 2016

Beating the heat a challenge at the nanoscale: Rice University scientists detect thermal boundary that hinders ultracold experiments July 28th, 2016

Possible Futures

Scientists change properties of zeolites to improve hemodialysis July 29th, 2016

Novel state of matter: Observation of a quantum spin liquid July 29th, 2016

A new type of quantum bits July 29th, 2016

Pixel-array quantum cascade detector paves the way for portable thermal imaging devices: Research team from TU-Wien Center for Micro- and Nanostructures have developed a new 'cooler' sensing instrument thereby increasing energy-efficiency and enhancing mobility for diagnostic tes July 28th, 2016

Discoveries

Scientists change properties of zeolites to improve hemodialysis July 29th, 2016

Novel state of matter: Observation of a quantum spin liquid July 29th, 2016

A new type of quantum bits July 29th, 2016

Lonely atoms, happily reunited July 29th, 2016

Announcements

Scientists change properties of zeolites to improve hemodialysis July 29th, 2016

Novel state of matter: Observation of a quantum spin liquid July 29th, 2016

A new type of quantum bits July 29th, 2016

Lonely atoms, happily reunited July 29th, 2016

Tools

Lonely atoms, happily reunited July 29th, 2016

Pixel-array quantum cascade detector paves the way for portable thermal imaging devices: Research team from TU-Wien Center for Micro- and Nanostructures have developed a new 'cooler' sensing instrument thereby increasing energy-efficiency and enhancing mobility for diagnostic tes July 28th, 2016

WSU researchers 'watch' crystal structure change in real time: Breakthrough made possible by new Argonne facility July 27th, 2016

Enhancing molecular imaging with light: New technology platform increases spectroscopic resolution by 4 fold July 27th, 2016

Energy

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

Designing climate-friendly concrete, from the nanoscale up: New understanding of concrete’s properties could increase lifetime of the building material, decrease emissions July 25th, 2016

An accelerated pipeline to open materials research: ORNL workflow system unites imaging, algorithms, and HPC to advance materials discovery and design July 24th, 2016

Researchers discover key mechanism for producing solar cells: Better understanding of perovskite solar cells could boost widespread use July 21st, 2016

Automotive/Transportation

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

New lithium-oxygen battery greatly improves energy efficiency, longevity: New chemistry could overcome key drawbacks of lithium-air batteries July 26th, 2016

Researchers improve catalyst efficiency for clean industries: Method reduces use of expensive platinum July 8th, 2016

Artificial synapse rivals biological ones in energy consumption June 21st, 2016

Fuel Cells

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

3-D paper-based microbial fuel cell operating under continuous flow condition July 5th, 2016

Nanoscientists develop the 'ultimate discovery tool': Rapid discovery power is similar to what gene chips offer biology June 25th, 2016

VentureLab nanotechnology startup wins TechConnect Innovation Award June 2nd, 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