Researchers from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, the College of Duisburg-Essen and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Power Conversion in Mülheim an der Ruhr cooperated on the challenge as a part of the Collaborative Analysis Centre “Heterogeneous oxidation catalysis within the liquid part.”
At RUB, a group headed by Weikai Xiang and Professor Tong Li from Atomic-scale Characterisation labored along with the Chair of Electrochemistry and Nanoscale Supplies and the Chair of Industrial Chemistry. Institutes in Shanghai, China, and Didcot, UK, have been additionally concerned. The group presents their findings within the journal Nature Communications, revealed on-line on 10 January 2022.
Particles noticed through the catalysis course of
The researchers studied two various kinds of nanoparticles manufactured from cobalt iron oxide that have been round ten nanometres. They analysed the particles through the catalysis of the so-called oxygen evolution response. It is a half response that happens throughout water splitting for hydrogen manufacturing: hydrogen will be obtained by splitting water utilizing electrical vitality; hydrogen and oxygen are produced within the course of. The bottleneck within the growth of extra environment friendly manufacturing processes is the partial response during which oxygen is fashioned, i.e. the oxygen evolution response. This response modifications the catalyst floor that turns into inactive over time. The structural and compositional modifications on the floor play a decisive function within the exercise and stability of the electrocatalysts.
For small nanoparticles with a measurement round ten nanometres, reaching detailed details about what occurs on the catalyst floor through the response stays a problem. Utilizing atom probe tomography, the group efficiently visualised the distribution of the various kinds of atoms within the cobalt iron oxide catalysts in three dimensions. By combining it with different strategies, they confirmed how the construction and composition of the floor modified through the catalysis course of — and the way this alteration affected the catalytic efficiency.
“Atom probe tomography has huge potential to offer atomic insights into the compositional modifications on the floor of catalyst nanoparticles throughout necessary catalytic reactions resembling oxygen evolution response for hydrogen manufacturing or CO2 discount,” concludes Tong Li.