Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

More Transparency: Optically transparent water oxidation catalyst made from copper nanowires

25.10.2013
Hydrogen is used as an energy source in fuel cells and can be produced from water by using sunlight and a suitable catalyst.

In the journal Angewandte Chemie, American researchers have now introduced a new electrocatalyst consisting of a conductive network of core-shell nanowires that is just as efficient as conventional metal oxide films on indium tin oxide (ITO) and a great deal more transparent and robust.



Nickel and cobalt oxides are attractive anode materials for the oxidation of water because they are readily available and demonstrate high catalytic activity. For use in photoelectric synthesis cells, in which chemical conversions are driven by light, the oxides are typically electrodeposited onto ITO substrates.

ITO is used because of its high transmittance and low sheet resistance. However, the high potentials required for the oxidation of water cause the conductivity of ITO surfaces to fall. In addition, indium is expensive and the production of ITO films is costly. Another disadvantage is that the catalytic oxide layers reduce the light transmittance and thus the light captured by the photovoltaic components.

A team led by Benjamin J. Wiley at Duke University in Durham has now developed a new approach to solve these problems. Their trick is to replace the ITO electrode with a conductive network of copper nanowires. Copper is a common element and is orders of magnitude cheaper than indium.

In addition, the nanowires can be quickly, easily, and inexpensively deposited onto a glass surface from a liquid. Afterward, the researchers electrolytically deposit nickel or cobalt onto the nanowires. The resulting network of core-shell nanowires is as efficient as metal oxide films of similar composition for the electrocatalytic oxidation of water, but is several times more transparent.

The nanowire film can also be deposited onto a flexible sheet of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic instead of glass.

Unlike ITO-based electrocatalysts on PET substrates, which suffer from significant loss of conductivity after repeated bending, the film made of nanowires isn’t really affected. The scientists are optimistic that their approach will open up new possibilities for the design of more efficient, mechanically robust, and affordable light-harvesting systems for the production of solar fuels.

About the Author
Dr. Benjamin J. Wiley is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Duke University. His research is focused on how to control the assembly of atoms on the nanoscale to create new materials with properties specifically designed to solve problems in electronics and renewable energy. He is a recent recipient of the CAREER award from the National Science Foundation.

Author: Benjamin J. Wiley, Duke University, Durham (USA), http://people.duke.edu/~bjw24/contact.html

Title: Optically Transparent Water Oxidation Catalysts Based on Copper Nanowires
Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201306585

Benjamin J. Wiley | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://pressroom.angewandte.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Topologische Quantenchemie
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Topological Quantum Chemistry
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>