University of Illinois researchers have come up with a way to create uniform nanoparticles that could impact fuel cell technology.
The team developed a way to synthesize highly uniform icosahedral nanoparticles made of platinum. An icosahedron crystal is a polyhedron with 20 identical equilateral triangular faces, 30 edges, and 12 vertices. The research was published earlier this month in the journal NANO Letters.
According to co-author Wei Zhou, “Although polyhedral nanostructures, such as cube, tetrahedron, octahedron, cuboctahedron, and even icosahedron, have been synthesized for several noble metals, uniform [platinum] icosahedra do not form readily and are rarely made.”
The researchers created the crystals from platinum acetylacetonate in dodecylamine and oleic acid using a hot injection-assisted GRAILS (gas reducing agent in liquid solution) technique, which helped with the creation of well-defined shapes.
The technique can potentially be utilized in nanoscience and nanotechnology studies, as well as in the development of high-performance fuel cell catalysts.
“The key reaction step to improve the activity of oxygen electrode catalysts in the hydrogen fuel cell is to optimize the bond strength between Pt and absorbed oxygen-containing intermediate species,” said Hong Yang, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “This allows the rapid production of water and lets the intermediate react and leave the surface quickly so the catalyst site can be used again.”
Source: Engineering at Illinois