Nav: Home

Gold nanoparticles to find applications in hydrogen economy

July 17, 2018

The international team of scientist of Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU), Leibniz University Hannover (Leibniz Universität Hannover) and the Ioffe Institute found a way to improve nanocomposite material which opens a new opportunities to use it in hydrogen economy and other industries. The obtained results are explained in the academic article "The mechanism of charge carrier generation at the TiO2--n-Si heterojunction activated by gold nanoparticles" published in journal Semiconductor Science and Technology.

The study is dedicated to the composite material, a semiconductor based on titanium dioxide. Its applications are widely studied by the researchers all over the world. But the processes which take place in this material are very complex. Therefore, to use the semiconductor more effectively, it is necessary to ensure that the energy enclosed between its layers can be released and transmitted.

In framework of the experiments the researchers of SPbPU, Leibniz University Hannover and Ioffe Institute propose a qualitative model to explain the complex processes.

The scientific group used a composite material consisting of a silicon wafer (standard silicon wafer used in electronic devices), gold nanoparticles and a thin layer of titanium dioxide. In the framework of the experiment to transfer the energy inside the material, the researchers intended to isolate nanoparticles from silicon. If nanoparticles are not isolated from the silicon wafer, then the energy can't be transmitted neither to the silicon nor to the titanium dioxide. It leads to the energy loss.

"The obtained material was a silicon wafer with pillar-like structures grown on its surface. It was used as a substrate for the sample. Gold nanoparticles were situated on top of these pillars and the whole structure was coated with titanium oxide. Thus, nanoparticles contacted only titanium dioxide, and simultaneously were isolated from silicon. The number of boundaries between the layers decreased, we tried to describe the processes in the material. In addition, we assumed that this structure would increase the efficiency of using the energy of light illuminating the surface of our material", says Dr. Maxim Mishin, professor of Physics, Chemistry, and Technology of Microsystems Equipment Department of SPbPU.

In St. Petersburg, an international scientific group established a model of a new structure, then the main part of the structure was created in Hannover: a silicon wafer with pillars and gold nanoparticles situated on top of it.

The experiment was performed as follows. At first, the wafer was oxidized, i.e. it was covered with a layer of the substrate, and gold nanoparticles were put on top of it.

"After that, we faced the next task: to create pillars and to perform the etching of the substrate so that it is remained under the particles and not and in between them. Considering that we are dealing with nanosizes, the diameter of gold nanoparticles is about 10 nanometers, and the height of the pillar is 80 nanometers, this is not a trivial task. The development of modern nanoelectronics makes it possible to use the so-called "dry" etching methods such as reactive ion etching", adds Dr. Marc Christopher Wurz from the Institute of Micro Production Technology at Leibniz University Hannover.

According to scientists, the process of technology development had not been rapid: at the first stages of the experiment, while using the ion etching, all gold nanoparticles were simply demolished from the oxidized wafer. In the course of one week, the researchers were selecting the parameters for etching plasma system, so that the gold nanoparticles remained on the surface. The whole experiment was conducted within 10 days.

This scientific project is ongoing. The researchers mention that this nanocomposite material can be used in optical devices operating in the visible light spectrum. In addition, it can be used as a catalyst to produce hydrogen from water, or, for example, to purify water by stimulating the decomposition of complex molecules. In addition, this material may be useful as an element of a sensor which detects a gas leak or increased concentration of harmful substances in the air.
The project was supported by the DAAD program "Strategic Partnership of Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University and Leibniz University Hannover".

Peter the Great Saint-Petersburg Polytechnic University

Related Nanoparticles Articles:

Chemists perform surgery on nanoparticles
A team of chemists led by Carnegie Mellon's Rongchao Jin has for the first time conducted site-specific surgery on a nanoparticle.
Nanoparticles remain unpredictable
The way that nanoparticles behave in the environment is extremely complex.
Gold standards for nanoparticles
KAUST researchers reveal how small organic 'citrate' ions can stabilize gold nanoparticles, assisting research on the structures' potential.
Lipid nanoparticles for gene therapy
Twenty-five years have passed since the publication of the first work on solid lipid nanoparticles (SLNs) and nanostructured lipid carriers (NLCs) as a system for delivering drugs.
Nanoparticles hitchhiking their way along strands of hair
In shampoo ads, hair always looks like a shiny, smooth surface.
Better contrast agents based on nanoparticles
Scientists at the University of Basel have developed nanoparticles which can serve as efficient contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging.
Gentle cancer treatment using nanoparticles works
Cancer treatments based on laser irridation of tiny nanoparticles that are injected directly into the cancer tumor are working and can destroy the cancer from within.
Radiation-guided nanoparticles zero in on metastatic cancer
Zap a tumor with radiation to trigger expression of a molecule, then attack that molecule with a drug-loaded nanoparticle.
Nanoparticles can grow in cubic shape
Use of nanoparticles in many applications, e.g. for catalysis, relies on the surface area of the particles.
Nanoparticles deliver anticancer cluster bombs
Scientists have devised a triple-stage 'cluster bomb' system for delivering the chemotherapy drug cisplatin, via tiny nanoparticles designed to break up when they reach a tumor.

Related Nanoparticles Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Moving Forward
When the life you've built slips out of your grasp, you're often told it's best to move on. But is that true? Instead of forgetting the past, TED speakers describe how we can move forward with it. Guests include writers Nora McInerny and Suleika Jaouad, and human rights advocate Lindy Lou Isonhood.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...