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 Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst

nachricht Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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: 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...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

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

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>