Applying precious metal catalysts economically

Precious metal nanoparticles of platinum and gold are excellent catalysts. But they are expensive and rare. This new method makes it possible to save material.

Researchers at RUB and the Fritz Haber Institute Berlin have developed a new method of using rare and expensive catalysts as sparingly as possible. They enclosed a precious metal salt in outer shells, tiny micelles, and had them strike against a carbon electrode, thus coating the surface with nanoparticles of the precious metal contained in the micelles. At the same time, the team was able to precisely analyse how much of the metal was deposited. The researchers then showed that the electrode coated in this manner could efficiently catalyse the oxygen reduction, which is the limiting chemical process in fuel cells.

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