Say "nanotechnology" and people are likely to think of micro machines or zippy computer chips. But in a new twist, Rutgers scientists are using nanotechnology in chemical reactions that could provide hydrogen for tomorrows fuel-cell powered clean energy vehicles.
In a paper to be published April 20 in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, researchers at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, describe how they make a finely textured surface of the metal iridium that can be used to extract hydrogen from ammonia, then captured and fed to a fuel cell. The metals unique surface consists of millions of pyramids with facets as tiny as five nanometers (five billionths of a meter) across, onto which ammonia molecules can nestle like matching puzzle pieces. This sets up the molecules to undergo complete and efficient decomposition.
"The nanostructured surfaces were examining are model catalysts," said Ted Madey, State of New Jersey professor of surface science in the physics department at Rutgers. "They also have the potential to catalyze chemical reactions for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries."
Carl Blesch | EurekAlert!
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