US chemists report developing a new way to make catalysts from metal nanoparticles – and even recycle spent catalysts into active ones.
Called high-index facet nanoparticle catalysts, they are shaped like gems.
Each particle has 24 different faces that present atoms at the surface in ways that make them more catalytically active than those currently available commercially, say the researchers from Northwestern University.
Writing in the journal Science, they describe their methodology, which involves taking basic metal precursors then using heat and stabilising trace elements to rapidly transform their shape into structures that are highly active catalytically.
The method is a general one: the study shows it works with five monometallic nanoparticles and a library of bimetallic nanoparticles, spanning seven different metals, including platinum, cobalt and nickel.
Most importantly, it is fast and scalable, says research leader Chad Mirkin, and may not be far away from being available commercially.
Catalysts are used to increase the rate of a chemical reaction and an important part of creating many products, including fuel cells.
Originally published by Cosmos as These nanoparticles are gems
Curated content from the editorial staff at Cosmos Magazine.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.