Researchers seeking to enhance fuel-cell catalysts made of nanoparticles have discovered that the catalytic activity of nanoparticles can be correlated with the type and count of their surface facets.
When Amplex Red connects with a gold catalyst the structure is changed to make a
fluorescent molecule that immediately emits a flash of light, showing where the
catalytic event tookplace. Right, electron microphoto of a single gold nanorod,
encased in a poirus silica shell. The shell keeps rods from clumping together and
allows experimenters to use heat to clean away a coating that forms
when the rods are created. (Provided/Chen Lab)
However, according to Peng Chen from the Cornell University, the surface defects on the facets of the nanoparticles dominate their catalytic activity. The research findings have been reported in the online edition of Nature Nanotechnology.
Chen's research team investigated the catalytic activity of gold nanorods with a length of up to 700 nm, which allowed the team to study the difference in the catalytic activity over a single facet. Gold functions as a catalyst to help in the production of a fluorescent called resorufin from a chemical known as Amplex Red.