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Nucleation of Ultrathin, Continuous, Conformal Metal Films Using Atomic Layer Deposition and Applications as Fuel Cell Catalysts

University of Colorado

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Technology Marketing SummaryA research team at the University of Colorado at Boulder led by Steven George has developed a method to prepare a conformal thin film of platinum or one of its alloys onto a substrate, and more particularly to reduce the cost associated with depositing platinum as a catalyst in a fuel cell.DescriptionTo facilitate the ionization of anode and cathode fuels in fuel cells in batteries, a noble metal catalyst is deposited on the surface of the electrodes. Platinum (Pt) is the most common example of such a catalyst. However, platinum is very expensive, so the amount used is a significant portion of overall fuel cell cost.

The research team discovered a novel method to prepare a conformal thin film platinum or platinum alloy for use as a catalyst on a substrate as a way to reduce the costs of fuel cells while maintaining platinum integrity.  The specific atomic layer deposition methods of this invention enable growth of continuous platinum layers with the desired low thickness, as well as increase the gain in activity.  As such, the method of the present invention promotes two-dimensional film-like growth rather than three-dimensional clustering.  Furthermore, because platinum and its alloys are extremely useful heterogeneous catalysts, the invention may also be used to coat platinum onto different shapes and substrates.
More InformationNucleation of Ultrathin, Continuous, Conformal Metal Films Using Atomic Layer Deposition and Application as Fuel Cell Catalysts. U.S. patent application filed Sep. 28, 2011.
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
CU2852BPrototypeAvailable05/23/201205/23/2012

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To: Lola Underwood<lola.underwood@cu.edu>