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 Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon
23.11.2017 | Norwegian University of Science and Technology

nachricht Migrating Cells: Folds in the cell membrane supply material for necessary blebs
23.11.2017 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Underwater acoustic localization of marine mammals and vehicles

23.11.2017 | Information Technology

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon

23.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>