Making the Most of a Scarce Metal
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC CHEMISTRY DIV
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Precious indeed are the platinum-group metals PGMs ruthenium, Ru rhodium, Rh palladium, Pd osmium, Os iridium, Ir and platinum, Pt. The earthly scarcity and concomitant cost of PGMs have always tempered their adoption in the vast array of strategic and commercial technologies in which their inclusion would yield improved performance. We can now attain the impressive electronic and electrochemical properties of ruthenium oxide -- high electronic conductivity, high capacitive charge storage for pulse power, and fast electron transfer for catalysis, analysis, or sensing -- by distributing modest amounts of the material onto dirt-cheap, insulating substrates, namely paper made of silica fibers. In the pursuit of a robust, flexible, and inexpensive electronic and catalytic substrate, we adapted our prior protocol for depositing 4-nanometer-high webs of ruthenium dioxide RuO2 throughout the interior of silica SiO2 nanoarchitectures. Now, in place of specialty porous silica, commercially available silica filter paper is soaked in chilled solutions of RuO4 in petroleum ether the RuO4 decomposes to RuO2 as the solution warms to room temperature.
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Metallurgy and Metallography
- Electricity and Magnetism