Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How nanoparticles give electrons away

15.12.2015

FAU researchers gain new insights into the electrical charge of platinum particles

Whether it is in catalytic processes in the chemical industry, environmental catalysis, new types of solar cells or new electronic components, nanoparticles are everywhere in modern production and environmental technologies, where their unique properties ensure efficiency and save resources.


Researchers have investigated how much electrical charge nanoparticles transfer to their support for the first time.

Image: Sergey Kozlov and Oriol Lamiel

The special properties of nanoparticles often arise from a chemical interaction with the support material that they are placed on. Such interactions often change the electronic structure of the nanoparticle because electrical charge is exchanged between the particle and the support.

Working groups led by Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) and the University of Barcelona have now succeeded in counting the number of elementary charges that are lost by a platinum nanoparticle when it is placed onto a typical oxide support. Their work brings the possibility of developing tailor-made nanoparticles a step closer.*

One of the main questions that nanoscience researchers have been discussing for some time now is how nanoparticles interact with the support that they are placed on.

It is now clear that various physical and chemical factors such as the electronic structure, the nanostructure and – crucially – their interaction with the support control the properties of nanoparticles.

Although this interaction – specifically the transfer of electrical charge – has already been observed to a great extent, previous studies have not investigated how much charge is transferred and whether there is a relationship between the transfer and the size of the nanoparticle.

In order to measure the electrical charge that is exchanged the international team of researchers from Germany, Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic led by Prof. Dr. Jörg Libuda, Professor of Physical Chemistry, and Prof. Dr. Konstantin Neyman, University of Barcelona, prepared an extremely clean and atomically well-defined oxide surface, onto which they placed platinum nanoparticles.

Using a highly sensitive detection method at Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste the researchers were able to quantify the effect for the first time. Looking at particles with various numbers of atoms, from several to many hundred, they counted the number of electrons transferred and showed that the effect is most pronounced for small nanoparticles with around 50 atoms.

The magnitude of the effect is surprisingly large: approximately every tenth metal atom loses an electron when the particle is in contact with the oxide. The researchers were also able to use theoretical methods to show how the effect can be controlled, allowing the chemical properties to be adapted to better suit their intended application.

This would allow valuable raw materials and energy to be used more efficiently in catalytic processes in the chemical industry, for example.

The project was funded in part by the EU and by FAU's Cluster of Excellence 'Engineering of Advanced Materials' (EAM). The researchers at EAM aim to bring together basic research in the natural sciences and applied research in engineering to investigate and develop new hierarchically structured materials with specific electronic, optical, catalytic and mechanical properties.

*doi: 10.1038/nmat4500

Further information:
Prof. Dr. Jörg Libuda
Phone: +49 9131 8527308
joerg.libuda@fau.de

Dr. Susanne Langer | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.fau.de/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Switch-in-a-cell electrifies life
18.12.2018 | Rice University

nachricht Plant biologists identify mechanism behind transition from insect to wind pollination
18.12.2018 | University of Toronto

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Data storage using individual molecules

Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.

Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists found a correlation between the structure and magnetic properties of ceramics

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Unique insights into an exotic matter state

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Physicists studied the influence of magnetic field on thin film structures

18.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>