Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nanoparticles: Two-faced materials boost hydrogen production

Date:
September 12, 2012
Source:
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
Summary:
Inexpensive hybrid metal and oxide nanostructures prove to be a catalyst that enhance sunlight-powered hydrogen production, researchers have found.

Inexpensive hybrid metal and oxide nanostructures prove to be a catalyst that enhance sunlight-powered hydrogen production, researchers have found.

Related Articles


Hydrogen is crucial for the oil-refining industry and the production of essential chemicals such as the ammonia used in fertilizers. Since producing hydrogen is costly, scientists have long searched for alternative, energy-efficient methods to separate hydrogen atoms from abundant sources such as water.

Nanometer-scale structures consisting of cheap metal and oxide spheres were recently demonstrated as an excellent catalyst for a hydrogen-production reaction powered only by sunlight. The study was completed by Ming-Yong Han and his colleagues of the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, Singapore, working in collaboration with a team of researchers from Singapore and France1.

Han and his team mixed 50-nanometer diameter spheres of gold into a titanium dioxide precursor such that a sphere of titanium dioxide formed on the side of each gold nanoparticle. Structures with this two-sphere arrangement are known as Janus particles, named after the two-headed god from Roman mythology. While the Janus particles were suspended in a mixture of water and isopropyl alcohol, Han and co-workers shone visible light on them and measured hydrogen production, which proceeded at a rate as fast as 2 milliliters per minute.

The researchers then used theoretical models to show that this production rate was caused by so-called plasmonics effects: that is, the electrons on the surface of the gold nanoparticle at the junction with the titanium dioxide coupled to the incoming light and formed light-matter hybrid particles called plasmon polaritons. The energy absorbed by these particles then passed into the surrounding liquid, and this drove the hydrogen-releasing chemical reaction.

"Our work provides insight into mechanisms that will be useful for the future development of high-performance photocatalysts," says Han. Indeed, Han and his co-workers were able to improve the efficiency of the hydrogen production even further: they increased the area of the metal-oxide interface by using larger gold nanoparticles.

The Janus particles were 100 times more efficient as a catalyst for hydrogen production than bare gold nanoparticles. Moreover, they were over one-and-a-half times better than another common type of plasmonic nanoparticle, core-shell particles, in which the oxide material forms a coating around the metal nanoparticle.

"We next hope to develop a better understanding of the processes that occur at the metal-titanium-dioxide interface using a combination of experimental observations and theoretical simulations," says Han. "This will get us closer to our ultimate goal of using solar illumination as an abundant source of renewable energy."

The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Zhi Wei Seh, Shuhua Liu, Michelle Low, Shuang-Yuan Zhang, Zhaolin Liu, Adnen Mlayah, Ming-Yong Han. Janus Au-TiO2 Photocatalysts with Strong Localization of Plasmonic Near-Fields for Efficient Visible-Light Hydrogen Generation. Advanced Materials, 2012; 24 (17): 2310 DOI: 10.1002/adma.201104241

Cite This Page:

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). "Nanoparticles: Two-faced materials boost hydrogen production." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120912093017.htm>.
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). (2012, September 12). Nanoparticles: Two-faced materials boost hydrogen production. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120912093017.htm
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). "Nanoparticles: Two-faced materials boost hydrogen production." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120912093017.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins