Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Atomic Design by Water

23.02.2018

Scientists at the Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung show how geometric structures at surfaces can be formed with atomic precision by water

A central element in such diverse technological problems as corrosion protection, battery materials or hydrogen production via electrolysis or fuel cells is the contact between two conducting elements – the electrolyte and the solid electrode at which a voltage is applied.


Water shapes the surface which is completely smooth in vacuum. Geometric structures, as the triangle on the left appear under the influence of water. Grey represent zinc, red oxygen and blue hydrogen

Suhyun Yoo, Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH

Despite its importance for a multitude of key technologies hardly anything is known about the atomistic structure of the interface between the electrode and the electrolyte. In particular the atomic structure of the solid electrode has a decisive impact on the chemical reactions taking place at the interface.

The ability to selectively modify the structure of the surface at the scale of individual atoms would open completely new possibilities target and influence central chemical reactions.

Scientist from the Computational Materials Design department of the Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung have come a great deal closer to achieving this goal. Within the framework of the Excellence-cluster RESOLV, a joint research initiative of seven research institutions in the Ruhr area, an unexpected phenomenon was found with the help of highly accurate quantum mechanical methods and powerful supercomputers.

Previous studies of metallic surfaces repeatedly show that the structure of the surface hardly changes in contact with a liquid electrolyte. The researchers were therefore very surprised when they brought a semi-conducting surface into contact with an electrolyte.

“We were completely surprised to see the formation of structures, which are unstable in the absence of water and are also not observed”, says Dr. Mira Todorova, head of the Electrochemistry and Corrosion group. The department head Prof. Neugebauer is equally enthusiastic:

“Our simulation methods allowed us not only to find a completely new and unexpected phenomenon, but also to identify the underlying mechanisms. This opens up totally new possibilities to shape and design surfaces with atomic precision.”

These studies not only offer new insights into future-oriented technologies, but also provide a new perception of a question intensely discussed in geology: The cause of the enhanced crack formation in minerals when they are exposed to a humid environment.

The work was published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Original publication:
S. Yoo, M. Todorova and J. Neugebauer
Selective solvent-induced stabilization of polar oxide surfaces in an electrochemical environment
Physical Review Letters 120, 066101 (2018)
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.120.066101
(Editors suggestion)

Authors of the press release: M. Todorova, J. Neugebauer

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.mpie.de/3757594/atomic-design-by-water

Yasmin Ahmed Salem M.A. | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht TU Bergakademie Freiberg researches virus inhibitors from the sea
27.03.2020 | Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg

nachricht The Venus flytrap effect: new study shows progress in immune proteins research
27.03.2020 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Junior scientists at the University of Rostock invent a funnel for light

Together with their colleagues from the University of Würzburg, physicists from the group of Professor Alexander Szameit at the University of Rostock have devised a “funnel” for photons. Their discovery was recently published in the renowned journal Science and holds great promise for novel ultra-sensitive detectors as well as innovative applications in telecommunications and information processing.

The quantum-optical properties of light and its interaction with matter has fascinated the Rostock professor Alexander Szameit since College.

Im Focus: Stem Cells and Nerves Interact in Tissue Regeneration and Cancer Progression

Researchers at the University of Zurich show that different stem cell populations are innervated in distinct ways. Innervation may therefore be crucial for proper tissue regeneration. They also demonstrate that cancer stem cells likewise establish contacts with nerves. Targeting tumour innervation could thus lead to new cancer therapies.

Stem cells can generate a variety of specific tissues and are increasingly used for clinical applications such as the replacement of bone or cartilage....

Im Focus: Artificial solid fog material creates pleasant laser light

An international research team led by Kiel University develops an extremely porous material made of "white graphene" for new laser light applications

With a porosity of 99.99 %, it consists practically only of air, making it one of the lightest materials in the world: Aerobornitride is the name of the...

Im Focus: Cross-technology communication in the Internet of Things significantly simplified

Researchers at Graz University of Technology have developed a framework by which wireless devices with different radio technologies will be able to communicate directly with each other.

Whether networked vehicles that warn of traffic jams in real time, household appliances that can be operated remotely, "wearables" that monitor physical...

Im Focus: Peppered with gold

Research team presents novel transmitter for terahertz waves

Terahertz waves are becoming ever more important in science and technology. They enable us to unravel the properties of future materials, test the quality of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“4th Hybrid Materials and Structures 2020” takes place over the internet

26.03.2020 | Event News

Most significant international Learning Analytics conference will take place – fully online

23.03.2020 | Event News

MOC2020: Fraunhofer IOF organises international micro-optics conference in Jena

03.03.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

3D printer sensors could make breath tests for diabetes possible

27.03.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

TU Bergakademie Freiberg researches virus inhibitors from the sea

27.03.2020 | Life Sciences

The Venus flytrap effect: new study shows progress in immune proteins research

27.03.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>