Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nanoscience in Austria leads the way

18.06.2007
Nickel-rhodium nanowires exhibit surprisingly high reactivity towards oxygen. As a result, they offer future development potential for new types of chemical catalysts. These findings were the result of research by an Austrian and Swedish research group who succeeded in growing one-dimensional nickel stripes on a rhodium substrate in a controlled manner. The team is part of the national research network "Nanoscience on Surfaces", which has been supported by the FWF Austrian Science Fund since December 2003.

Atoms on the surfaces and borderlines of matter behave differently to atoms inside its volume due to their position at the boundary. Significantly altering the surface area to volume ratio can have a major impact on the chemical and physical properties of a material - even if its chemical composition remains unchanged. Research into surface effects is particularly important in nanotechnology because nanoscale structures are - in extreme cases - one-dimensional and therefore almost purely surfaces. Prof. Falko Netzer from the Institute of Physics at Karl-Franzens University in Graz, Austria, is responsible for coordinating work in this field within the national research network "Nanoscience on Surfaces".

THE RESEARCH DIMENSION

Prof. Netzer and his team recently succeeded in establishing a model that can be used to study the reactivity of metallic nanosystems at an atomic level. Prof. Netzer explains: "We succeeded in using physical vapour deposition to form quasi one-dimensional rows of nickel atoms on a special rhodium substrate. This single crystal rhodium substrate has a precise step structure, whereby steps that are only one rhodium atom high are interspersed with terraces that are several atoms wide." The team was able to create a bimetallic system with precisely defined nanoscale dimensions by accurately depositing nickel atoms at the step edges.

Prof. Netzer's group then analysed the chemical reactivity of this system via scanning tunnelling microscopy, complex calculations and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy using synchrotron radiation at Lund University in Sweden. These analyses produced interesting results which demonstrated that the nickel rows exhibited unusually high reactivity towards oxygen. This enhanced reactivity is caused primarily by shifts in specific electronic states of rhodium atoms in the step structure. This shift then transfers to the directly adjacent nickel atoms and facilitates their reaction with oxygen.

REACTIVE

Prof. Netzer explains the potential of this enhanced reactivity with oxygen: "Our measurements and calculations provide clear evidence that one-dimensional nickel rows can fully react with oxygen at a specific gas pressure - without even one rhodium atom reacting with oxygen. As a result, this system offers opportunities to develop new catalysts, involving the adsorption and dissociation of oxygen atoms."

Prof. Netzer believes that these results underline once more the key role that fundamental research into nanomaterials plays with regard to their future application in day-to-day processes. It was the importance of fundamental research such as this that motivated Prof. Netzer and a number of his Austrian colleagues to establish the research network "Nanoscience on Surfaces" in 2003, and the network has received support from the FWF Austrian Science Fund ever since. The network includes groups specialising in surface technology from the Karl-Franzens University in Graz and the universities of Vienna, Linz, Innsbruck as well as from the Technical Universities of Graz and Vienna. This diverse network facilitates interdisciplinary cooperation comprising a range of methods from physics, chemistry and material science with the aim of creating and characterising defined nanostructures on surfaces. Indeed, scientists and engineers will only be able to use this technology reliably and efficiently when chemical and physical procedures are understood and mastered at the nanoscale level.

Till C. Jelitto | alfa
Further information:
http://www.prd.at
http://www.fwf.ac.at/en/public_relations/press/pv200706-en.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Black hole spin cranks-up radio volume
15.01.2018 | National Institutes of Natural Sciences

nachricht The universe up close
15.01.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Morbid Obesity: Gastric Bypass and Sleeve Gastrectomy Are Comparable

17.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system

17.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Genetic discovery may help better identify children at risk for type 1 diabetes

17.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>