Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Cobalt catalysts allow researchers to duplicate the complicated steps of photosynthesis

Currently, the most efficient methods we have for making fuel – principally, hydrogen – from sunlight and water involve rare and expensive metal catalysts, such as platinum.
Currently, the most efficient methods we have for making fuel – principally, hydrogen – from sunlight and water involve rare and expensive metal catalysts, such as platinum.

Abstract:
Humans have for ages taken cues from nature to build their own devices, but duplicating the steps in the complicated electronic dance of photosynthesis remains one of the biggest challenges and opportunities for chemists.ated-steps-photosynthesis#sthash.kXv0hfDG.dpuf

Cobalt catalysts allow researchers to duplicate the complicated steps of photosynthesis

Argonne, IL | Posted on January 14th, 2014

Currently, the most efficient methods we have for making fuel - principally, hydrogen - from sunlight and water involve rare and expensive metal catalysts, such as platinum. In a new study, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have found a new, more efficient way to link a less expensive synthetic cobalt-containing catalyst to an organic light-sensitive molecule, called a chromophore.

Although cobalt is significantly less efficient than platinum when it comes to light-induced hydrogen generation, the drastic price difference between the two metals makes cobalt the obvious choice as the foundation for a synthetic catalyst, said Argonne chemist Karen Mulfort.

"Cobalt doesn't have to be as efficient as platinum because it is just so much cheaper," she said.

The Argonne study wasn't the first to look at cobalt as a potential catalytic material; however, the paper did identify a new mechanism by which to link the chromophore with the catalyst. Previous experiments with cobalt attempted to connect the chromophore directly with the cobalt atom within the larger compound, but this eventually caused the hydrogen generation process to break down.

Instead, the Argonne researchers connected the chromophore to part of a larger organic ring that surrounded the cobalt atom, which allowed the reaction to continue significantly longer.

"If we were to directly link the chromophore and the cobalt atom, many of the stimulated electrons quickly fall out of the excited state back into the ground state before the energy transfer can occur," Mulfort said. "By coupling the two materials in the way we've described, we can have much more confidence that the electrons are going to behave the way we want them to."

One additional advantage of working with a cobalt-based catalyst, in addition to its relatively low price and abundance, is the fact that scientists understand the atomic-level mechanisms at play.

"There's a lot of different ways in which we already know we can modify cobalt-based catalysts, which is important because we need to make our devices more robust," Mulfort said.

Future studies in this arena could involve nickel- and iron-based catalysts - metals which are even more naturally abundant than cobalt, although they are not quite as effective natural catalysts. "We want to extrapolate from what we've gained by looking at this kind of linkage in respect to other catalysts," Mulfort said.

Mulfort and her Argonne colleagues used the high-intensity X-rays provided by the laboratory's Advanced Photon Source as well as precise spectroscopic techniques available at Argonne's Center for Nanoscale Materials.

A paper based on the study appeared in the journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. The research was supported by DOE's Office of Science.

####

About DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

The Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory is one of five national synchrotron radiation light sources supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science to carry out applied and basic research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels, provide the foundations for new energy technologies, and support DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security. To learn more about the Office of Science X-ray user facilities, visit the Office of Science website.

The Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory is one of the five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers (NSRCs), premier national user facilities for interdisciplinary research at the nanoscale, supported by the DOE Office of Science. Together, the NSRCs comprise a suite of complementary facilities that provide researchers with state-of-the-art capabilities to fabricate, process, characterize and model nanoscale materials, and constitute the largest infrastructure investment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. The NSRCs are located at DOE’s Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge and Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories.

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit the Office of Science website.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Jared Sagoff

630-252-5549

Copyright © DOE/Argonne 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

Pixelligent Launches New PixClear® Light Extraction Materials for OLED Lighting August 4th, 2015

The annual meeting on High Power Diode Lasers & Systems will be held as part of the Enlighten Conference, October 14th & 15th August 4th, 2015

Atomic view of microtubules: Berkeley Lab researchers achieve record 3.5 angstroms resolution and visualize action of a major microtubule-regulating protein August 4th, 2015

World's quietest gas lets physicists hear faint quantum effects August 4th, 2015

Artificial blood vessels become resistant to thrombosis August 4th, 2015

Laboratories

Atomic view of microtubules: Berkeley Lab researchers achieve record 3.5 angstroms resolution and visualize action of a major microtubule-regulating protein August 4th, 2015

Springer and Tsinghua University Press present the second Nano Research Award: Paul Alivisatos of the University of California Berkeley receives the honor for outstanding contributions in nanoscience July 30th, 2015

Meet the high-performance single-molecule diode: Major milestone in molecular electronics scored by Berkeley Lab and Columbia University team July 29th, 2015

New computer model could explain how simple molecules took first step toward life: Two Brookhaven researchers developed theoretical model to explain the origins of self-replicating molecules July 28th, 2015

Chemistry

March 2016; 6th Int'l Conference on Nanostructures in Iran July 29th, 2015

Meet the high-performance single-molecule diode: Major milestone in molecular electronics scored by Berkeley Lab and Columbia University team July 29th, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Atomic view of microtubules: Berkeley Lab researchers achieve record 3.5 angstroms resolution and visualize action of a major microtubule-regulating protein August 4th, 2015

Small tilt in magnets makes them viable memory chips August 3rd, 2015

Vaccine with virus-like nanoparticles effective treatment for RSV, study finds August 3rd, 2015

MIPT researchers clear the way for fast plasmonic chips August 3rd, 2015

Discoveries

Atomic view of microtubules: Berkeley Lab researchers achieve record 3.5 angstroms resolution and visualize action of a major microtubule-regulating protein August 4th, 2015

World's quietest gas lets physicists hear faint quantum effects August 4th, 2015

Artificial blood vessels become resistant to thrombosis August 4th, 2015

Engineering a better 'Do: Purdue researchers are learning how August 4th, 2015

Announcements

Artificial blood vessels become resistant to thrombosis August 4th, 2015

Engineering a better 'Do: Purdue researchers are learning how August 4th, 2015

Proving nanoparticles in sunscreen products August 4th, 2015

Global Carbon Nanotubes Industry 2015: Acute Market Reports August 4th, 2015

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

World's quietest gas lets physicists hear faint quantum effects August 4th, 2015

Artificial blood vessels become resistant to thrombosis August 4th, 2015

Global Carbon Nanotubes Industry 2015: Acute Market Reports August 4th, 2015

Nanoparticles Give Antibacterial Properties to Machine-Woven Carpets August 4th, 2015

Energy

Transparent, electrically conductive network of encapsulated silver nanowires: A novel electrode for optoelectronics August 1st, 2015

Springer and Tsinghua University Press present the second Nano Research Award: Paul Alivisatos of the University of California Berkeley receives the honor for outstanding contributions in nanoscience July 30th, 2015

Controlling Dynamic Behavior of Carbon Nanosheets in Structures Made Possible July 30th, 2015

March 2016; 6th Int'l Conference on Nanostructures in Iran July 29th, 2015

Solar/Photovoltaic

Transparent, electrically conductive network of encapsulated silver nanowires: A novel electrode for optoelectronics August 1st, 2015

Springer and Tsinghua University Press present the second Nano Research Award: Paul Alivisatos of the University of California Berkeley receives the honor for outstanding contributions in nanoscience July 30th, 2015

Reshaping the solar spectrum to turn light to electricity: UC Riverside researchers find a way to use the infrared region of the sun's spectrum to make solar cells more efficient July 27th, 2015

Rice University finding could lead to cheap, efficient metal-based solar cells: Plasmonics study suggests how to maximize production of 'hot electrons' July 22nd, 2015

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