Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Conducting Tubes

08.09.2009
Carbonized titanium dioxide nanotubes with semimetallic properties increase the efficiency of methanol fuel cells

Mention of nanotubes usually means carbon nanotubes. But not all tiny tubes are made of carbon. For example, layers made of nanoscopic titanium dioxide have proven to be useful materials for biotechnology, catalytic converters, and solar cell technology.

Although the semiconducting properties of these nanotubes are critical for many of these applications, their limited conductivity represents a hindrance for other areas of application. A team at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg and the University of Turku in Finland has now found an easy way to breathe some metal-like conductivity into the nanotubes without changing their structure.

Through carbonization, the titanium dioxide can be converted into a carbon-containing titanium oxycarbide compound. As the researchers led by Patrik Schmuki report in the journal Angewandte Chemie, this novel material could drastically increase the efficiency of methanol fuel cells.

In order to carbonize titanium dioxide nanotubes, the researchers treated them with acetylene at 850 °C. This forms a carbon-rich compound with semimetallic properties, which is also significantly harder than before carbonization. “This is not about simply doping titanium dioxide with carbon atoms,” clarifies Schmuki. “Although the ordered tube structures remain almost completely unchanged, a new chemical compound is formed. This titanium oxycarbide can be interpreted as a solid mixture of titanium carbide and various titanium oxides.” Its high electrical conductivity and favorable electrochemical characteristics make this new material an interesting new electrode material.

Its use in methanol fuel cells seems particularly attractive. These days, methanol oxidation is usually carried out at catalytic electrodes with a carbon support and a platinum or ruthenium catalyst. “Titanium dioxide nanotubes have been under consideration as an alternative to the carbon support for a number of years,” says Schmuki. “But our new conducting oxycarbide beats these by a mile: Supports made of the oxycarbide increase the activity of the catalyst for the methanol oxidation by 700 %.”

Author: Patrik Schmuki, Carbonisierte Titandioxidnanoröhrchen mit halbmetallischen Eigenschaften steigern die Leistung von Methanol-Brennstoffzellen, http://www.lko.uni-erlangen.de/En/Frames/overview-frame.html

Title: Semimetallic TiO2 Nanotubes

Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2009, 48, No. 39, 7236–7239, doi: 10.1002/anie.200902207

Patrik Schmuki | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://pressroom.angewandte.org
http://www.lko.uni-erlangen.de/En/Frames/overview-frame.html

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University

nachricht Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers shoot for success with simulations of laser pulse-material interactions

29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling

29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation

29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>