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Electrocatalysts on Carbon Nanoparticles

Brookhaven National Laboratory

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A transmission electron micrograph showing a plurality of low-height Pt platelets formed on an underlying carbon substrate. The carbon substrate is shown as an amorphous, lighter-colored grey background whereas the regions of the surface coated with Pt are comparatively darker and exhibit lattice fringes, indicating some degree of crystalline order. The Pt platelets have an average diameter of approximately 3 to 5 nm.
A transmission electron micrograph showing a plurality of low-height Pt platelets formed on an underlying carbon substrate. The carbon substrate is shown as an amorphous, lighter-colored grey background whereas the regions of the surface coated with Pt are comparatively darker and exhibit lattice fringes, indicating some degree of crystalline order. The Pt platelets have an average diameter of approximately 3 to 5 nm.

Technology Marketing Summary

Carbon nanostructures offer extremely high surface areas and so are attractive candidates to support dispersed catalysts. These nanostructures, however, are not necessarily as conductive as is required for most methods of deposition of noble metal catalysts onto support structures. The inventive catalysts include an atomically thin layer of a transition metal on the carbon nanostructure which is then coated with an atomically thin layer of a catalytically active noble metal. These catalysts can be used, for example, in supercapacitors, fuel cells, and batteries.

Description

A catalyst includes a carbon nanoparticle confromally coated with an atomically thin layer of transition metal which is at least partially encapsulated by an atomically thin layer of a catalytically active noble metal. An exemplary catalyst consists of a carbon nanohorn covered with an atomically thin layer of palladium which is covered by an atomically thin layer of platinum. A method for making such catalysts includes oxydizing the surface of the carbon nanostructure to generate a dipole at its surface, depositing a non-noble metal and then displacing it with a more noble metal, and finally depositing a second non-noble metal and replacing it with the catalytically active noble metal.

Benefits

Nanostructures with non-spheroidal shapes have very high surface areas. Depositing a sole monolayer of platinum on such structures allows virtually every Pt molecule to participate in catalytic activity, increasing the noble metal mass activity of the catalyst.

Applications and Industries

Supercapacitors, batteries, fuel cells; oxygen-reduction; heterogeneous catalysis.

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Date
Patent 8,404,613
Patent
8,404,613
Platinum-based electrocatalysts synthesized by depositing contiguous adlayers on carbon nanostructures
High-surface-area carbon nanostructures coated with a smooth and conformal submonolayer-to-multilayer thin metal films and their method of manufacture are described. The preferred manufacturing process involves the initial oxidation of the carbon nanostructures followed by immersion in a solution with the desired pH to create negative surface dipoles. The nanostructures are subsequently immersed in an alkaline solution containing non-noble metal ions which adsorb at surface reaction sites. The metal ions are then reduced via chemical or electrical means and the nanostructures are exposed to a solution containing a salt of one or more noble metals which replace adsorbed non-noble surface metal atoms by galvanic displacement. Subsequent film growth may be performed via the initial quasi-underpotential deposition of a non-noble metal followed by immersion in a solution comprising a more noble metal. The resulting coated nanostructures may be used, for example, as high-performance electrodes in supercapacitors, batteries, or other electric storage devices.
Brookhaven National Laboratory 03/26/2013
Issued
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
BSA 08-34PrototypeAvailable01/09/201401/09/2014

Contact BNL About This Technology

To: Poornima Upadhya<pupadhya@bnl.gov>