Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Atomic Design by Water

23.02.2018

Scientists at the Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung show how geometric structures at surfaces can be formed with atomic precision by water

A central element in such diverse technological problems as corrosion protection, battery materials or hydrogen production via electrolysis or fuel cells is the contact between two conducting elements – the electrolyte and the solid electrode at which a voltage is applied.


Water shapes the surface which is completely smooth in vacuum. Geometric structures, as the triangle on the left appear under the influence of water. Grey represent zinc, red oxygen and blue hydrogen

Suhyun Yoo, Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH

Despite its importance for a multitude of key technologies hardly anything is known about the atomistic structure of the interface between the electrode and the electrolyte. In particular the atomic structure of the solid electrode has a decisive impact on the chemical reactions taking place at the interface.

The ability to selectively modify the structure of the surface at the scale of individual atoms would open completely new possibilities target and influence central chemical reactions.

Scientist from the Computational Materials Design department of the Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung have come a great deal closer to achieving this goal. Within the framework of the Excellence-cluster RESOLV, a joint research initiative of seven research institutions in the Ruhr area, an unexpected phenomenon was found with the help of highly accurate quantum mechanical methods and powerful supercomputers.

Previous studies of metallic surfaces repeatedly show that the structure of the surface hardly changes in contact with a liquid electrolyte. The researchers were therefore very surprised when they brought a semi-conducting surface into contact with an electrolyte.

“We were completely surprised to see the formation of structures, which are unstable in the absence of water and are also not observed”, says Dr. Mira Todorova, head of the Electrochemistry and Corrosion group. The department head Prof. Neugebauer is equally enthusiastic:

“Our simulation methods allowed us not only to find a completely new and unexpected phenomenon, but also to identify the underlying mechanisms. This opens up totally new possibilities to shape and design surfaces with atomic precision.”

These studies not only offer new insights into future-oriented technologies, but also provide a new perception of a question intensely discussed in geology: The cause of the enhanced crack formation in minerals when they are exposed to a humid environment.

The work was published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Original publication:
S. Yoo, M. Todorova and J. Neugebauer
Selective solvent-induced stabilization of polar oxide surfaces in an electrochemical environment
Physical Review Letters 120, 066101 (2018)
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.120.066101
(Editors suggestion)

Authors of the press release: M. Todorova, J. Neugebauer

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.mpie.de/3757594/atomic-design-by-water

Yasmin Ahmed Salem M.A. | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Flow of cerebrospinal fluid regulates neural stem cell division
22.05.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Chemists at FAU successfully demonstrate imine hydrogenation with inexpensive main group metal
22.05.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>