Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Surface diffusion plays a key role in defining the shapes of catalytic nanoparticles

Transmission electron microscope (TEM) images show four distinctive types of nanocrystals that were obtained at different reaction temperatures during Georgia Tech experiments to study the effects of surface diffusion.

Credit: Images courtesy of Younan Xia
Transmission electron microscope (TEM) images show four distinctive types of nanocrystals that were obtained at different reaction temperatures during Georgia Tech experiments to study the effects of surface diffusion.

Credit: Images courtesy of Younan Xia

Abstract:
Shape changers

Controlling the shapes of nanometer-sized catalytic and electrocatalytic particles made from noble metals such as platinum and palladium may be more complicated than previously thought.

Surface diffusion plays a key role in defining the shapes of catalytic nanoparticles

Atlanta, GA | Posted on April 8th, 2013

Using systematic experiments, researchers have investigated how surface diffusion - a process in which atoms move from one site to another on nanoscale surfaces - affects the final shape of the particles. The issue is important for a wide range of applications that use specific shapes to optimize the activity and selectivity of nanoparticles, including catalytic converters, fuel cell technology, chemical catalysis and plasmonics.

Results of the research could lead to a better understanding of how to manage the diffusion process by controlling the reaction temperature and deposition rate, or by introducing structural barriers designed to hinder the surface movement of atoms.

"We want to be able to design the synthesis to produce nanoparticles with the exact shape we want for each specific application," said Younan Xia, a professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. "Fundamentally, it is important to understand how these shapes are formed, to visualize how this happens on structures over a length scale of about 100 atoms."

The research was reported April 8 in the early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The research was sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Controlling the shape of nanoparticles is important in catalysis and other applications that require the use of expensive noble metals such as platinum and palladium. For example, optimizing the shape of platinum nanoparticles can substantially enhance their catalytic activity, reducing demand for the precious material, noted Xia, who is a Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) eminent scholar in nanomedicine. Xia also holds joint appointments in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech.

"Controlling the shape is very important to tuning the activity of catalysts and in minimizing the loading of the catalysts," he said. "Shape control is also very important in plasmonic applications, where the shape controls where optical absorption and scattering peaks are positioned. Shape is also important to determining where the electrical charges will be concentrated on nanoparticles."

Though the importance of particle shape at the nanoscale has been well known, researchers hadn't before understood the importance of surface diffusion in creating the final particle shape. Adding atoms to the corners of platinum cubes, for instance, can create particles with protruding "arms" that increase the catalytic activity. Convex surfaces on cubic particles may also provide better performance. But those advantageous shapes must be created and maintained.

Natural energetic preferences related to the arrangement of atoms on the tiny structures favor a spherical shape that is not ideal for most catalysts, fuel cells and other applications.

In their research, Xia and his collaborators varied the temperature of the process used to deposit atoms onto metallic nanocrystals that acted as seeds for the nanoparticles. They also varied the rates at which atoms were deposited onto the surfaces, which were determined by the injection rate at which a chemical precursor material was introduced. The diffusion rate is determined by the temperature, with higher temperatures allowing the atoms to move around faster on the nanoparticle surfaces. In the research, bromide ions were used to limit the movement of the added atoms from one portion of the particle to another.

Using transmission electron microscopy, the researchers observed the structures that were formed under different conditions. Ultimately, they found that the ratio of the deposition rate to the diffusion rate determines the final shape. When the ratio is greater than one, the adsorbed atoms tend to stay where they are placed. If the ratio is less than one, they tend to move.

"Unless the atomic reaction is at absolute zero, you will always have some diffusion," said Xia, who holds the Brock Family Chair in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. "But if you can add atoms to the surface in the places that you want them faster than they can diffuse, you can control the final destination for the atoms."

Xia believes the research may also lead to improved techniques for preserving the unique shapes of nanoparticles even at high operating temperatures.

"Fundamentally, it is very useful for people to know how these shapes are formed," he said. "Most of these structures had been observed before, but people did not understand why they formed under certain conditions. To do that, we need to be able to visualize what happens on these tiny structures."

Xia's research team also studied the impact of diffusion on bi-metallic particles composed of both palladium and platinum. The combination can enhance certain properties, and because palladium is currently less expensive than platinum, using a core of palladium covered by a thin layer of platinum provides the catalytic activity of platinum while reducing cost.

In that instance, surface diffusion can be helpful in covering the palladium surface with a single monolayer of the platinum. Only the surface platinum atoms will be able to provide the catalytic properties, while the palladium core only serves as a support.

The research is part of a long-term study of catalytic nanoparticles being conducted by Xia's research group. Other aspects of the team's work addresses biomedical uses of nanoparticles in such areas as cancer therapy.

"We are very excited by this result because it is generic and can apply to understand and control diffusion on the surfaces of many systems," Xia added. "Ultimately we want to see how we can take advantage of this diffusion to improve the catalytic and optical properties of these nanoparticles."

The research team also included Xiaohu Xia, Shuifen Xie, Maochang Liu and Hsin-Chieh Peng at Georgia Tech; and Ning Lu, Jinguo Wang and Professor Moon J. Kim at the University of Texas at Dallas.

This research was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under grant DMR-1215034 and by startup funds from Georgia Tech. Any conclusions expressed are those of the principal investigator and may not necessarily represent the official views of the NSF.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
John Toon

404-894-6986

Copyright © Georgia Institute of Technology

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

Creation of 'Rocker' protein opens way for new smart molecules in medicine, other fields December 18th, 2014

How does enzymatic pretreatment affect the nanostructure and reaction space of lignocellulosic biomass? December 18th, 2014

Silicon Valley-Based Foresight Valuation Launches STR-IP™, a New Initiative for Startups to Discover the Value of Their Intellectual Property December 18th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Chemistry

How does enzymatic pretreatment affect the nanostructure and reaction space of lignocellulosic biomass? December 18th, 2014

Imaging

Switching to spintronics: Berkeley Lab reports on electric field switching of ferromagnetism at room temp December 17th, 2014

ORNL microscopy pencils patterns in polymers at the nanoscale December 17th, 2014

Unraveling the light of fireflies December 17th, 2014

DELMIC reports on applications of their SPARC technology at the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden December 16th, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Zenosense, Inc. - Hospital Collaboration - 400 Person Lung Cancer Detection Trial December 17th, 2014

SUNY Poly NanoCollege Faculty Member Selected as American Physical Society Fellow: SUNY Poly Associate Professor of Nanoscience Dr. Vincent LaBella Recognized for Significant Technological Innovations that Enable Interactive Learning December 17th, 2014

Switching to spintronics: Berkeley Lab reports on electric field switching of ferromagnetism at room temp December 17th, 2014

ORNL microscopy pencils patterns in polymers at the nanoscale December 17th, 2014

Discoveries

Creation of 'Rocker' protein opens way for new smart molecules in medicine, other fields December 18th, 2014

How does enzymatic pretreatment affect the nanostructure and reaction space of lignocellulosic biomass? December 18th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Iranian Researchers Produce Electrical Pieces Usable in Human Body December 18th, 2014

Announcements

Creation of 'Rocker' protein opens way for new smart molecules in medicine, other fields December 18th, 2014

How does enzymatic pretreatment affect the nanostructure and reaction space of lignocellulosic biomass? December 18th, 2014

Silicon Valley-Based Foresight Valuation Launches STR-IP™, a New Initiative for Startups to Discover the Value of Their Intellectual Property December 18th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Tools

Switching to spintronics: Berkeley Lab reports on electric field switching of ferromagnetism at room temp December 17th, 2014

ORNL microscopy pencils patterns in polymers at the nanoscale December 17th, 2014

Unraveling the light of fireflies December 17th, 2014

DELMIC reports on applications of their SPARC technology at the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden December 16th, 2014

Energy

How does enzymatic pretreatment affect the nanostructure and reaction space of lignocellulosic biomass? December 18th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Lifeboat Foundation gives 2014 Guardian Award to Elon Musk December 16th, 2014

Stacking two-dimensional materials may lower cost of semiconductor devices December 11th, 2014

Automotive/Transportation

Lifeboat Foundation gives 2014 Guardian Award to Elon Musk December 16th, 2014

The gold standard December 9th, 2014

Nanocatalysts Can Reduce Pollution Caused by Diesel Engines December 4th, 2014

NEI introduces NANOMYTE® SuperAi, a Durable Anti-ice Coating December 4th, 2014

Fuel Cells

Toward a low-cost 'artificial leaf' that produces clean hydrogen fuel December 3rd, 2014

Single-atom gold catalysts may offer path to low-cost production of fuel and chemicals November 28th, 2014

National Synchrotron Light Source II Achieves 'First Light' October 23rd, 2014

Unique catalysts for hydrogen fuel cells synthesized in ordinary kitchen microwave oven October 14th, 2014

Research partnerships

Unraveling the light of fireflies December 17th, 2014

Scientists trace nanoparticles from plants to caterpillars: Rice University study examines how nanoparticles behave in food chain December 16th, 2014

FEI and Oregon Health & Science University Install a Complete Correlative Microscopy Workflow in Newly Built Collaborative Science Facility December 16th, 2014

New Technique Could Harvest More of the Sun's Energy December 9th, 2014

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







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE