2
RUDN chemist synthesized gold-based electrocatalysts

RUDN chemist synthesized gold-based electrocatalysts

A RUDN chemist has synthesized an electrocatalyst based on gold nanoparticles with organic ligands, which can trigger both hydrogen production reactions and oxygen reduction reactions in fuel cells. The yield of products with the new catalyst was twice as high as when using a traditional platinum-based catalyst.

Catalysts based on metal nanoparticles, for example, gold or platinum, are needed for reactions in fuel cells and in the industrial production of hydrogen. If organic molecules, ligands, are attached to nanoparticles, the activity of the catalyst can be increased. However, there have been few papers that investigate the capabilities of such catalysts so far.

Rafael Luque, a RUDN chemist, synthesized a catalyst based on gold nanoparticles stabilized with citrate, a salt of citric acid. To obtain gold nanoparticles in complex with other organic substances, an exchange of ligands was carried out based on a concentration gradient. For this, nanoparticles were incubated in a solution of a new ligand, and then centrifuged to precipitate formed nanoparticles with attached ligands.

During the experiment in oxygen reduction reactions, the chemists found a significant effect of the type of ligand and its interaction with the gold surface on the absorption of O2 molecules. Gold nanoparticles with citrate proved to be the best in these reactions. The limiting current density of this type of catalyst — 5.58 milliamps per square centimeter — was two times higher than that of nanoparticles with other ligands. This means that with the same energy consumption, this catalyst will produce more oxygen.

In hydrogen production reactions, the best catalytic activity, as well as in oxygen reduction reactions, was demonstrated by citrate nanoparticles. Moreover, their efficiency was only half the efficiency of a platinum catalyst, which significantly exceeds the gold analogue in cost.

The study of the structures showed that gold nanoparticles with citrate lost some of their ligands, while nanoparticles with cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) and mercaptoundecanoic acid (MUA) remained almost unchanged. This may be due to the different strength of the bonds between gold and organic ligands. To test the stability, which is one of the most important characteristics of the catalysts, all samples were tested for 12 hours under a voltage that significantly exceeded the optimum. All nanoparticles retained their structure after testing; moreover, gold nanoparticles with citrate improved their electrocatalytic characteristics. This may indicate that new types of catalysts will work effectively under continuous operation.

Due to the stability of the new catalysts, these have an interesting potential to be employed in industry in the future. The ligand exchange method developed by the chemists can find application in the synthesis of catalysts with predetermined properties suitable for renewable hydrogen-based energy sources.

The article was published in Journal of Materials Chemistry A.

Main Publications View all
15 Nov 2017
RUDN University scientists publish results of their scientific researches in highly-recognized in whole world and indexed in international databases journals (Web of Science, Scopus ect.). That, of course, corresponds to the high status of the University and its international recognition. Publications of June-September 2017 ( In Journals of categories Q1-Q3)
775
International Projects View all
Similar newsletter View all
30 Dec
Biologists from RUDN University discovered the secret of flaxseed oil with long shelf life

Biologists from RUDN University working together with their colleagues from the Institute of Molecular Biology of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Flax studied the genes that determine the fatty acid composition in flaxseed oil and identified polymorphisms in six of them. The team also found out what gene variations could extend the shelf life of flaxseed oil. This data can be used to improve the genetic selection of new flax breeds. The results were published in the BMC Plant Biology journal.

18
30 Dec 2020
RUDN University chemists developed cheap and eco-friendly surfactants

An international team including chemists from RUDN University suggested an economically feasible and environmentally friendly method to synthesize surfactants. The new compounds can become an eco-friendly alternative to traditional chemicals used in oil production, skincare products manufacture, and in the pharmaceutical industry to transport drugs to diseased body tissues.

19
30 Dec 2020
RUDN University Mathematicians Applied 19th Century Ideas To Modern Computerized Algebra Systems

A team of mathematicians from RUDN University added new symbolic integration functionality to the Sage computerized algebra system. The team implemented ideas and methods suggested by the German mathematician Karl Weierstrass in the 1870s.

15
Similar newsletter View all