Jul 3, 2013
Te/Pt nanonetworks enable cost-effective electrocatalysts for methanol oxidation
Scientists in Taiwan have shown that decorating Pt onto tellurium nanowires (NWs), which have been modified on carbon fiber microelectrodes (CFMEs) through a galvanic displacement reaction between Te and PtCl62– ions at room temperature, provides cost-effective and highly electro-active Te/PtCFMEs for use in direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs).
Pt-based nanomaterials (NMs) are commonly deposited onto glassy carbon electrodes through simple routes, but their active sites are usually limited. To overcome this, template-assisted electrodeposition of Pt NMs directly onto the surfaces of conductive substrates (for example, indium tin oxide – ITO) has been applied.
Although CFMEs decorated with NMs or organic compounds are popular in electrochemical biosensing due to their small size, high surface-to-volume ratio, and ease in functionalization, their use in fuel cells has not been widely realized.
The method developed by Huan-Tsung Chang and co-workers from the National Taiwan University, Taipei, involves constructing multiple Te/PtCFMEs in a configuration of one working electrode. The team believes that this will not only reduce the cost of fabrication of DMFCs, but also provide a significant enhancement in current density and durability.
To further reduce the cost of electrodes used in DMFC’s, the group will be working on the preparation of multiple metallic nanonetworks onto CFMEs without noble metals as anodic catalysts in the future. “We are also interested in the development of green synthetic approaches for the fabrication of bimetallic multiple nanonetworks of Te in conjunction with other low-cost metals (such as Ni or Co) that provide high current density of DMFCs,” explained Chang.
More information can be found in the journal Nanotechnology.
About the author
The study was conducted by researchers from the Bio- and Nano- Analytical Lab in the Department of Chemistry at National Taiwan University. Huan-Tsung Chang is currently a distinguished Professor and Chairman of the Department of Chemistry, National Taiwan University. He obtained his PhD from the Department of Chemistry, Iowa State University in 1994 with Dr Edward S Yeung. His current research interests include nanotechnology, green chemistry, biosensors fuel cells, and separation. Hsiang-Yu Tsai received his MS degree in the Department of Chemistry, National Taiwan University in 2012. His research interests include the synthesis of nanomaterials and electroanalytical chemistry. Zih-Yu Shih is a PhD student in the Department of Chemistry, National Taiwan University. She is interested in the synthesis of electrocatalytic nanomaterials for fuel cells. Zong-Hong Lin received his PhD in the Department of Chemistry, National Taiwan University in 2009. He was working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Chemistry, National Taiwan University with Professor Huan-Tsung Chang from 2009 to 2011, focusing on the fabrication of nanomaterials for fuel cells and catalysts for inhibiting the growth of bacteria.