Schematic showing CO2 laser pyrolysis synthesis of silicon nanoparticles transferred to a custom stainless steel prototype cartridge used to generate hydrogen for fuel cell applications. Credit: ACS, Erogbogbo et al. Click to enlarge. A team of researchers from the University at Buffalo (SUNY) have demonstrated that hydrogen generation from ultra-small... Read more →


A visualization of the broad-spectrum solar energy funnel. Image: Yan Liang. Click to enlarge. Researchers from Peking University in China and MIT are proposing using elastic strain as a viable agent to create an optoelectronic material with a spatially varying bandgap that is tunable for use in photovoltaics, photocatalysis and... Read more →


IACT team using ALD to build nanobowls for tailored catalysts for biofuel production

A team of scientists from the Institute for Atom Efficient Chemical Transformations (IACT)—an Energy Frontier Research Center (earlier post) led by Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), and including Northwestern University, the University of Wisconsin and Purdue University—is using atomic layer deposition (ALD) to build nanoscale “bowls” that protect metal catalysts from... Read more →


Plot of current performance data in the lab for Si/graphene anodes. Source: XG Sciences. Click to enlarge. As part of the FY 2012 Phase I Release 3 SBIR/STTR Award program, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Michigan-based XG Sciences, a manufacturer of graphene nanoplatelets (earlier post), a contract... Read more →


The research team used a unique process to encourage growth of ultra-thin zeolite nanosheets at 90-degree angles, similar to building a house of cards. Credit: U of Minn. Click to enlarge. An international team led by University of Minnesota chemical engineering and materials science professor Michael Tsapatsis reports in the... Read more →


This drawing shows the damaged outer wall of a carbon nanotube with nanosized graphene pieces (white patches), which facilitate the formation of catalytic sites made of iron (yellow) and nitrogen (red) atoms. The catalyst reduces oxygen to water. Click to enlarge. A team of researchers has demonstrated the ability of... Read more →


MIT researchers engineer stable copper-gold nanoparticle catalysts for lower energy consumption CO2 reduction

Copper nanoparticles (NPs) are attractive catalysts for chemical reactions including the reduction of CO2 to methane or methanol. However, copper is easily oxidized; as a result, the metal is unstable, which can significantly slow its reaction with carbon dioxide and produce unwanted byproducts such as carbon monoxide and formic acid.... Read more →


Visualization of platinum coating in fuel cells. The red areas show high ion transfer activity, the turquoise-green elevations represent the nanoparticles. The picture shows that ion transfer is not uniform all over the coating. Picture: Sergei Kalinin Click to enlarge. A new microscopy technique devised by an international research team... Read more →


Researchers from NEST Istituto Nanoscienze CNR and the Scuola Normale Superiore in Italy are proposing a multilayer graphene-based device in which storage and release of hydrogen are obtained by exploiting and controlling the corrugation of individual layers of graphene. In a paper published in the ACS Journal of Physical Chemistry... Read more →


Relaxed surface structures of the MWW and MFI nanosheets. Si, O, and H atoms are colored in yellow, red, and white, respectively. (A and B) MWW nanosheet viewed along the a (or b) axis (A) and along the c axis (B). (C and D) MFI nanosheet viewed along the c... Read more →


Ragone plots for the pristine graphene, N-doped graphene, B-doped graphene, graphene oxide (GO), and GO500 based cells with lithium metal as the counter/reference electrode. The calculation of gravimetric energy and power density was based on the active material mass of a single electrode. Credit: ACS, Wu et al. Click to... Read more →


Left: Rate capability of MoS2/G samples at different current densities:(1) MoS2/G (1:1); (2) MoS2/G (1:2); (3) MoS2/G (1:4). Right: cartoon of the composite. Credit: ACS, Chang and Chen. Click to enlarge. A pair of researchers from Zhejiang University (China) have synthesized layered MoS2/graphene (MoS2/G) composites using a facile biomolecular-assisted process... Read more →


(A) Schematic showing the microwave exfoliation/reduction of GO and the chemical activation of MEGO (a-MEGO) that creates pores while retaining high electrical conductivity. (B–E) Images of a-MEGO. E shows presence of a dense network of nanometer-scale pores surrounded by highly curved, predominantly single layer carbon. Credit: Zhu et al. Click... Read more →


A scheme of an M13 virus and its cloning vector for genetic engineering. Click to enlarge. Researchers at MIT led by Drs. Angela Belcher and Paula Hammond have synthesized single-walled carbon nanotube–TiO2 nanocrystal core–shell nanocomposites using a genetically engineered M13 virus as a template. Using the nanocomposites as photoanodes in... Read more →


The tandem catalyst. (Image courtesy of Yang group) Click to enlarge. Researchers with the US Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have created bi-layered nanocrystals of metal-metal oxide that are the first to feature multiple catalytic sites on nanocrystal interfaces. A paper describing the research is... Read more →


a) SEM cross section image of Nanospring coated cordierite b) SEM image of the Nanospring-coated cordierite wall. Click to enlarge. The National Science Foundation recently awarded a $149,000 Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase 1 grant to GoNano Technologies, Inc., a materials company specializing in the development of high surface... Read more →


The power performance of the SWNH/SWNT composite electrode surpasses other nanocarbon electrodes. Credit: ACS, Click to enlarge. Researchers at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) have developed a novel high-power composite material for supercapacitor electrodes. The material, featuring a... Read more →


(a) Schematic diagram of the bacteria-templated synthesis of the oxide nanostructures. Typical FESEM images of (b) the pure bacteria, (c) the bacteria/cobalt oxide rods, and (d) the hollow cobalt oxide rods. The insets depict the cross section of each sample. Credit: ACS, Shim et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers at... Read more →


Nanocubes made of metal organic frameworks (MOFs) could serve as a medium for gas storage. Photo: BASF. Click to enlarge. BASF research scientists have developed a method for solvent-free industrial-scale manufacture of metal organic frameworks (MOFs)— highly crystalline structures with nanometer-sized pores that allow them to store hydrogen and other... Read more →


ARPA-E Selects 6 Projects for $9.6M in Funding, Including Improving Efficiency and Power Density of Electric Machines

The US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has selected six more potentially transformational energy research and development projects. Funded with $9.6 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the new projects bring the total of ARPA-E projects to 121, for a total of $363 million in... Read more →


A xylem cell with fluorescent lignocellulose bands as the major feature. Click to enlarge. A team from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory led by Michael Thelen, in collaboration with researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, has examined the chemical and structural organization of the plant... Read more →


MIT researchers used modified M13 bacteriophages as templates to assemble noble metal allow nanowires for Li-ion anode materials. Credit: ACS, Lee et al. Click to enlarge. An MIT team including Drs. Gerbrand Ceder and Angela Belcher has synthesized gold (Au) and silver (Ag) alloy nanowires as anode materials for Li-ion... Read more →


STM images of water molecule before (a) and after (b) dissociation into OH, and before (c) and after (d) dissociation into O. Source: RIKEN. Click to enlarge. A research team at Japan’s RIKEN has succeeded in selectively controlling for reaction products in the dissociation of a single water molecule on... Read more →


TEM images of the virus-templated IrO2 nanowires. Scale = 100 nm (a) and 10 nm (b). Source: Nam et al., Supplementary materials. Click to enlarge. A team of MIT researchers, led by Dr. Angela Belcher, has engineered a common bacteriophage virus (M13) to function as a scaffold to mediate the... Read more →


RPI Doctoral Student Develops New Graphene Material with 14% Wt. Hydrogen Storage Capacity

Javad Rafiee, a doctoral student in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has developed a new graphene material for storing hydrogen at room temperature. The novel form of engineered graphene has exhibited a hydrogen storage capacity of 14% by weight at room temperature, exceeding... Read more →


Multi-walled carbon nanotubes coated with a 7nm annular shell of cyclotrimethylene-trinitramine (TNA) were used to demonstrate the thermopower waves. The TNA shows up as a bright coating compared to the nanotubes. Source: Choi et al. Click to enlarge. A team of scientists at MIT has discovered and demonstrated a previously... Read more →


European Researchers Developing Multifunctional Structural Composite Material That Can Double as Energy Storage

Researchers from Imperial College London and their European partners, including Volvo Car Corporation, are developing a prototype multifunctional structural composite material composed of carbon fibers and a polymer resin which can store and discharge electrical energy and which is also strong and lightweight enough to be used for car parts.... Read more →


An applied electric field polarizes hydrogen molecules and the substrate, inducing hydrogen absorption with good thermodynamics and kinetics. Image courtesy of Qian Wang, Ph.D./VCU. Click to enlarge. Using density functional theory, a team of researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University; Peking University in Beijing; and the Chinese Academy of Science in... Read more →


Researchers Discover Method to Transform Structure of MOFs; Potential In Applications Such as Hydrogen Storage

Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a new route to transform the structure of metal-organic framework (MOF) materials—an emerging class of porous crystalline solid—at industrially-accessible high pressures. Karena Chapman, Gregory Halder and Peter Chupas used the Advanced Photon Source’s high-focused X-ray beams to... Read more →


Schematic illustration of the reactions taking place at the water/oil interface in the solid-stabilized emulsions. Depending on the reaction temperature, the prevailing reactions are hydrogenation, hydrogenolysis, or decarbonylation, and depending on the relative solubilities, the products remain in the aqueous phase or migrate to the oil phase. Source: Crossley et... Read more →


Left.High-resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy image of platinum nanoparticles on a fuel cell electrode. Right. Schematics of high-index planes observed on Pt nanoparticles. Credit: ACS, Lee at al. (2009). Click to enlarge. A team of researchers from MIT, the Japan Institute of Science and Technology, and Brookhaven National Laboratory have found... Read more →


SEM images of nanorod devices in 1 M LiPF6 in the EC/DEC electrolyte: LiMn2O4 (a) 0, (b) 3, and (c) 9 h; LiAl0.1Mn1.9O4 (d) 0, (e) 3, and (f) 9 h; λ-MnO2 (g) 0, (h) 3, and (i) 9 h. Credit: ACS, Yang et al. Click to enlarge. An international... Read more →


Carbon nanotubes are preferentially grown by controlling the shape and size of the catalyst. Tubes growing on red and pink exhibit metallic properties, while semiconducting tubes are on blue. The height of the nanotubes indicates the probability of each specific tube in the experiment. Source: Honda RI. Click to enlarge.... Read more →


Exfoliated Graphite NanoPlatelets. Bottom: lateral and edge views. Source: MSU, XG Sciences. Click to enlarge. A Michigan State University (MSU) researcher and his students have developed a nanomaterial—xGnP Exfoliated Graphite NanoPlatelets—that makes plastic stiffer, lighter and stronger and could result in more fuel-efficient airplanes and cars as well as more... Read more →


Air Force Office of Scientific Research Awards $3M for Research into Graphene Additives for Novel Aviation and Diesel Fuels

The US Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) has awarded an interdisciplinary team of scientists led by Princeton engineers a two-year, $3-million grant to develop nanoscale graphene additives for novel fuels to help supersonic jets fly faster and diesel engines cleaner and more efficient. The funding, which comes as... Read more →


Schematic representation for proposed material Mg-C60@MOF showing a MOF cavity impregnated with magnesium-decorated C60. Credit: ACS. Click to enlarge. Researchers in Australia have proposed a new concept for hydrogen and methane storage materials involving the incorporation of magnesium-decorated fullerenes within metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). According to their modeling, the magnesium-decorated Mg10C60... Read more →


An example of a mesoporous silica nanosphere (MSN). The mesoporous structure is illustrated by the hexagonally packed light-colored dots. Credit: Victor Lin. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory and Iowa State University have developed a unique method that uses sponge-like mesoporous nanoparticles to harvest... Read more →


Nanotube Structures Could Improve Electric Motors

Carbon nanotube commutator. Source: Rice University. Click to enlarge. Researchers from Rice University and the University of Oulu in Oulu, Finland, have found that carbon nanotubes could significantly improve the performance of electrical commutators that are common in electric motors and generators. The research, which appeared online this month in... Read more →


New Nanoporous Material Has Highest Surface Area Yet

UMCM-2 is a coordination polymer comprising three different types of cages. Credit: ACS. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the University of Michigan (U-M) have developed a new nanoporous material with a surface area of more than 5,000 square meters per gram—significantly higher than that of any other porous material reported... Read more →


Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Nanotube Arrays Perform Better Than Platinum as Fuel Cell Catalysts

CO-poison effect on the i-t chronoamperometric response for Pt-C/GC and VA-NCNT/GC electrodes. The arrow indicates the addition of 55 mL/min CO gas into the 550 mL/min O2 flow. The mixture gas of ~9% CO (volume/volume) was then introduced into the electrochemical cell. From Gong et al. (2009) Click to enlarge.... Read more →


New Crystalline-Amorphous Core-Shell Silicon Nanowires for High Capacity and High Current Li-Ion Electrodes

Top: Schematic illustration of the lithiation of the Si c-a core-shell NWs. Bottom: Capacity and Coulombic efficiency over 100 cycles. Credit: ACS. Click to enlarge. A team of researchers from Stanford University and Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, led by Stanford professor Yi Cui, have developed a core-shell design of... Read more →


Researchers Engineer Carbon Nanotube Scaffolds for Higher Density Hydrogen Storage

The procedure expands the geometry of a SWCNT fiber (upper left) and then locks the expanded form into a stable shape with cross linkers (bottom). Click to enlarge. Credit: ACS Researchers at Rice University and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have engineered single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) fibers to become... Read more →


DOE Selects Projects To Advance Nanomanufacturing; Catalysts, Coatings and Oher Nanostructured Materials

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected 20 project proposals for funding following its Nanomanufacturing for Energy Efficiency 2008 Research Call. The projects promise to make revolutionary improvements in a broad range of catalysts, coatings and other nanostructured materials for use in energy production, storage, and consumption applications that... Read more →


Germany’s ERP Start Fund to Invest Up To €1M in Namos for Bio-Nanotech Automotive Catalysts

Namos GmbH,, a company developing surface solutions based on bio-nanotechnology, will receive up to €1 million (US$1.36 million) from the ERP Start Fund, a joint program of the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), the German government-owned development bank, and the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. The funds, to be... Read more →


New Pillared Graphene Material Offers Enhanced Hydrogen Storage; Close to DOE Target

Volumetric hydrogen uptake for graphene (diamonds), (6,6) carbon nanotubes (squares), pillared material (triangles), and Li-doped pillared (stars) at (a) 77 K and (b) 300 K. Click to enlarge. Credit: ACS Researchers at the University of Crete (Greece) have designed a novel 3-D network nanostructure that almost meets the US Department... Read more →


LiMn2O4 Nanorods Improve Li-Ion Cathode Performance

The nanorods, and capacity compared to commercial powders. Click to enlarge. Credit: ACS An international team led by Dr. Yi Cui at Stanford University has produced free-standing single-crystalline LiMn2O4 nanorods that, when used as a cathode material in Li-ion batteries, show a high charge storage capacity at high power rates... Read more →


EPA Awards $2M to Study Impacts of Nanoparticles on the Brain; Ceria Nanoparticles in Diesel Fuel Additive as Model

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded a $2 million grant to the University of Kentucky (UK) to investigate how the sizes and shapes of nanoparticles affect their ability to enter the brain. This is the largest EPA Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grant ever awarded to the University of... Read more →


Cornell Researchers Develop New Method for Self-Assembly of Metals Into Ordered, Porous Structures; Potential Benefit for Fuel Cells and Catalysts

Ligand-coated platinum nanoparticles (blue and gray balls) nestled amongst the block co-polymers (blue and green strands). The self-assembly of platinum nanoparticles through the use of ligands and polymers is the key first step to a new method for structuring metals developed by Cornell Researchers. Click to enlarge. Image courtesy of... Read more →


Researchers Use Electrospinning to Produce POM Mats 10x More Stretchable Than Original Material

FESEM micrograph of the electrospun POM fibers. Click to enlarge. Courtesy of the American Chemical Society Researchers at Tsinghua University in China reported the first successful electrospinning of polyoxymethylene (POM)—a type of plastic widely used in automobiles and electronics due to its properties such as good strength, stiffness, abrasion, and... Read more →


Research to Explore Polymer Catalytic Membrane Systems for the Capture and Recovery of CO2

A materials chemist working in the Organic Materials Innovation Centre (OMIC) at The University of Manchester (UK), has won £150,000 (US$296,000) of new funding to explore the use of a special polymer in a catalytic membrane system to capture and recover CO2 from power plants. Dr. Peter Budd’s project, funded... Read more →