March Newsletter: Page 1
Professor Dan Goia’s Group Develops Platinum Based Fuel Cell Electrocatalysts
CAMP Distinguished Professor Dan Goia has been involved for the last 25 years in the synthesis, characterization, and modification of ultra-fine and nanosize metallic and metal-composite particles with controlled size, shape, internal structure, composition, and surface properties. These materials are used extensively in catalysis, electronics, and metallurgy as well as many emerging applications in medicine, biology, defense, energy generation, and magnetic storage. For the last few years Professor Goia's group has been especially active in the development of platinum based electrocatalysts for Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells. The research work is sponsored by Umicore, a multinational company based in Belgium and Germany, and is focused on the design and fabrication of Pt-based metal nanoparticles with sophisticated architectures. Professor Goia and his postdoctoral associate Igor Sevonkaev have already developed core-shell nanoparticles (30 to 100 nm in diameter) consisting of a solid base metal (Ni) core covered with a thin, continuous, and adherent NiPt alloy shell (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Ni core particles covered with a thin Ni Pt alloy shell.
These materials and the processes used to generate them have unique features. First, the thickness of the external NiPt shell can be varied in a controllable fashion between 4 and 10 atomic layers. Secondly, the Pt concentration can be increased gradually from the core/shell interface to the periphery of the particles. As a result, the composition of the catalyst’s surface can be varied from pure Pt to a desired NiPt atomic ratio by controlling the synthesis conditions. Due to the low surface curvature associated with the larger cores, these new materials display a mass specific catalytic activity several times higher than that of conventional Pt catalysts. continued on page 2
CAMP’s Annual Technical Meeting Is this May
CAMP’s Annual Technical Meeting will be held May 15- 17, 2013, at the Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga Springs, New York. The objective of this meeting is to provide a forum for an exchange of ideas and information between university and industry researchers involved in fine particle processing and nanotechnology and related colloid and surface aspects as well as applications. This event is expected to place an emphasis on technology in batteries, semiconductors, and sustainable energy sources such as solar and wind energy. Presentations by faculty, industrial scientists and engineers will highlight this meeting, which also includes a poster session on CAMP research.