The results of their findings identify a clear trend in the behavior of extended and nanoscale surfaces of platinum-bimetallic alloy. Additionally, the techniques and concepts derived from the research program are expected to make overarching contributions to other areas of science well beyond the focus on electrocatalysis.
The Argonne researchers, Nenad Markovic and Vojislav Stamenkovic, published related results last month in Science and this month in Nature Materials on the behavior of single crystal and polycrystalline platinum alloy surfaces. The researchers discovered that the nanosegregated platinum-nickel alloy surface has unique catalytic properties, opening up important new directions for the development of active and stable practical cathode catalysts in fuel cells.
These scientific accomplishments together provide a solid foundation for the development of hydrogen-powered vehicles, as basic research brings value of society today by helping to lay the foundation for tomorrow's technological breakthroughs. "Understanding catalysis is a grand challenge of nanoscience that is now coming within reach," said George Crabtree, director of Argonne's Materials Science Division. "The systematic work that Voya and Nenad are doing is a major step toward transforming catalysis from an empirical art to a fundamental science."
Their experiments and approach sought to substantially improve and reduce platinum loading as the oxygen-reduction catalyst. The research identified a fundamental relationship in electrocatalytic trends on surfaces between the experimentally determined surface electronic structure (the d -band centre) and activity for the oxygen-reduction reaction. This relationship exhibits "volcano-type" behavior, where the maximum catalytic activity is governed by a balance between adsorption energies of reactive intermediates and surface coverage by spectator (blocking) species.
The electrocatalytic trends established for extended surfaces explain the activity pattern of nanocatalysts and provide a fundamental basis for the enhancement of cathode catalysts. By combining experiments with simulations in the quest for surfaces with desired activity, the researchers developed an advanced concept in nanoscale catalyst engineering.
"In the past, theoretical connections have been suggested between electronic behavior and catalytic activity," explained Markovic. "Our work represents the first time that the connections have been identified experimentally. For us, this development constitutes the beginning of more breakthrough advances in nanocatalysts."
According to Stamenkovic, "Our study demonstrates the potential of new analytical tools for characterizing nanoscale surfaces in order to fine tune their properties in a desired direction. We have identified a cathode surface that is capable of achieving and even exceeding the target for catalytic activity with improved stability. This discovery sets a new bar for catalytic activity of the cathodic reaction in fuel cells."
Through continued research combining nanoscale fabrication, electrochemical characterization and numerical simulation a new generation of multi-metallic systems with engineered nanoscale surfaces is on the horizon. Argonne's Center for Nanoscale Materials, Advanced Photon Source and Electron Microscopy Center will enable some of this research.
"We have got crucial support from Argonne management to set up the new labs and launch research directions, which would establish Argonne as a leading center in basic sciences related to energy conversion." said Stamenkovic.
Their lab includes a custom built three-chamber UHV system equipped with the state-of-the-art surface sensitive tools, including Low Energy Ion Scattering Spectroscopy (LEISS), Auger Electron Spectroscopy (AES), angle resolved X-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS with monochromator), ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy
(UPS), Low Energy Electron Diffraction (LEED) optics, sputtering guns, thermal evaporators, dual hemispherical analyzers, and chamber with scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and atomic force microscopy AFM. All three chambers are connected to each other but they can also work as independent chambers, making it possible to transfer samples from one to the other unit in order to get detailed surface characterization or to make desirable surface modification.
"We hope that this research program will lead the nation to more secure energy independence and a cleaner environment for future generations," Markovic said.
Collaborators on the research were Bongjin Mun and Philip Ross at DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Matthias Arenz and Karl Mayrhofer from Technical University of Munich, Christopher Lucas from the University of Liverpool and Guofeng Wang from the University of South Carolina.
This research was funded by DOE's Office of Basic Energy Sciences and by General Motors. The Nature Materials report is on-line at www.nature.com/nmat/journal/vaop/ncurrent/index.html. The Science paper published in January is online at www.sciencemag.org/content/vol315/issue5811/index.dtl.
The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory conducts basic and applied scientific research across a wide spectrum of disciplines, ranging from high-energy physics to climatology and biotechnology. Since 1990, Argonne has worked with more than 600 companies and numerous federal agencies and other organizations to help advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for the future. Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.
For more information, please contact Sylvia Carson (630/252-5510 or firstname.lastname@example.org) at Argonne.
Sylvia Carson | EurekAlert!
New algorithm for optimized stability of planar-rod objects
11.08.2016 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria
Automated driving: Steering without limits
05.02.2016 | FZI Forschungszentrum Informatik am Karlsruher Institut für Technologie
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences