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

'Nano-hashtags' could provide definite proof of Majorana particles: Eindhoven network of nanowires gives particles the space to exchange places August 23rd, 2017

DNA sensor system developed for specific and sensitive measurement of cancer-relevant enzyme activity August 23rd, 2017

Lego proteins revealed: Self-assembling protein complexes based on a single mutation could provide scaffolding for nanostructures August 23rd, 2017

Heating quantum matter: A novel view on topology: Physicists demonstrate how heating up a quantum system can be used as a universal probe for exotic states of matter August 22nd, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

'Nano-hashtags' could provide definite proof of Majorana particles: Eindhoven network of nanowires gives particles the space to exchange places August 23rd, 2017

Nagoya physicists resolve long-standing mystery of structure-less transition: Nagoya University-led team of physicists use a synchrotron radiation X-ray source to probe a so-called 'structure-less' transition and develop a new understanding of molecular conductors August 21st, 2017

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet August 17th, 2017

Freeze-dried foam soaks up carbon dioxide: Rice University scientists lead effort to make novel 3-D material August 16th, 2017

Possible Futures

'Nano-hashtags' could provide definite proof of Majorana particles: Eindhoven network of nanowires gives particles the space to exchange places August 23rd, 2017

DNA sensor system developed for specific and sensitive measurement of cancer-relevant enzyme activity August 23rd, 2017

Lego proteins revealed: Self-assembling protein complexes based on a single mutation could provide scaffolding for nanostructures August 23rd, 2017

Heating quantum matter: A novel view on topology: Physicists demonstrate how heating up a quantum system can be used as a universal probe for exotic states of matter August 22nd, 2017

Discoveries

'Nano-hashtags' could provide definite proof of Majorana particles: Eindhoven network of nanowires gives particles the space to exchange places August 23rd, 2017

DNA sensor system developed for specific and sensitive measurement of cancer-relevant enzyme activity August 23rd, 2017

Lego proteins revealed: Self-assembling protein complexes based on a single mutation could provide scaffolding for nanostructures August 23rd, 2017

Heating quantum matter: A novel view on topology: Physicists demonstrate how heating up a quantum system can be used as a universal probe for exotic states of matter August 22nd, 2017

Announcements

'Nano-hashtags' could provide definite proof of Majorana particles: Eindhoven network of nanowires gives particles the space to exchange places August 23rd, 2017

DNA sensor system developed for specific and sensitive measurement of cancer-relevant enzyme activity August 23rd, 2017

Lego proteins revealed: Self-assembling protein complexes based on a single mutation could provide scaffolding for nanostructures August 23rd, 2017

Heating quantum matter: A novel view on topology: Physicists demonstrate how heating up a quantum system can be used as a universal probe for exotic states of matter August 22nd, 2017

Tools

Nagoya physicists resolve long-standing mystery of structure-less transition: Nagoya University-led team of physicists use a synchrotron radiation X-ray source to probe a so-called 'structure-less' transition and develop a new understanding of molecular conductors August 21st, 2017

Tokai University research: Nanomaterial wrap for improved tissue imaging August 21st, 2017

Scientists from the University of Manchester and Diamond Light Source work with Deben to develop and test a new compression stage to study irradiated graphite at elevated temperatures August 15th, 2017

FRITSCH • Milling and Sizing! Innovations at POWTECH 2017 - Hall 2 • Stand 227 August 9th, 2017

Energy

The power of perovskite: OIST researchers improve perovskite-based technology in the entire energy cycle, from solar cells harnessing power to LED diodes to light the screens of future electronic devices and other lighting applications August 18th, 2017

Freeze-dried foam soaks up carbon dioxide: Rice University scientists lead effort to make novel 3-D material August 16th, 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

Fewer defects from a 2-D approach August 15th, 2017

Automotive/Transportation

2-faced 2-D material is a first at Rice: Rice University materials scientists create flat sandwich of sulfur, molybdenum and selenium August 14th, 2017

Engineers pioneer platinum shell formation process – and achieve first-ever observation August 11th, 2017

GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Silicon Mobility Deliver the Industry’s First Automotive FPCU to Boost Performance for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles: Silicon Mobility and GF’s 55nm LPx -enabled platform, with SST’s highly-reliable SuperFlash® memory technology, boosts automotive performance, ene August 3rd, 2017

Rice U. scientists map ways forward for lithium-ion batteries for extreme environments: Paper details developments toward high-temperature batteries July 27th, 2017

Fuel Cells

Engineers pioneer platinum shell formation process – and achieve first-ever observation August 11th, 2017

Argonne National Laboratory’s Continuous ALD Technology Licensed Exclusively to Forge Nano July 7th, 2017

Electrocatalyst nanostructures key to improved fuel cells, electrolyzers June 5th, 2017

Stanford scientists use nanotechnology to boost the performance of key industrial catalyst May 18th, 2017

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