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)
1219
International scientific cooperation View all
03 Nov 2017
The main goal of the RUDN University and UNISDR Office for Northeast Asia and Global Education and Training Institute for Disaster Risk Reduction at Incheon (UNISDR ONEA-GETI) cooperation is to obtain knowledge about disaster risk reduction and international experience in this area for creating training courses for basic and additional professional education in RUDN
1014
Similar newsletter View all
31 Mar
RUDN University awards for specific areas of science and technology based on the results of 2021

Every year, RUDN University selects the best of the best in the field of science and innovation and encourages with a special reward. Since 2009, the Academic Council of the University has been awarding one reward in natural and technical sciences and the other one in social and humanitarian sciences. Both individual researchers and groups of authors can become laureates.

73
31 Mar
International Day of Women and Girls in Science: women scientists of the RUDN talk about their path to science

“Science is the basis of all progress that facilitates the life of mankind and reduces its suffering,” — Marie Sklodowska—Curie. A symbol of a woman’s success in science. The first scientist in the world — twice winner of the Nobel Prize.

316
31 Mar
RUDN University Mathematicians Create a Model for Queue Organizing with Self-Sustained Servers

RUDN University mathematicians proposed a model for optimizing the operation of queuing systems (from computer networks to stores). Unlike analogues, the servers in it are self-sustained. They can determine when to start and stop working themselves. Such a model can be useful, for example, for online taxi services and other systems where workers choose their own operating hours.

80
Similar newsletter View all