General Lab Information

Technologies Available for License

Categories: energynanotechnology

2009-015: Two-Chamber Apparatus and Method for the Synthesis and Treatment of Metal Monolayer Electrocatalyst Particles

Invention: 2009-015

Patent Status: U.S. Patent Number 9,017,530 was issued on April 28, 2015

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TCP Technology

Electrochemical cell for fabricating nanoparticles coated with atomically thin layers of noble metals.

Despite the exciting properties of core-shell catalysts, especially fuel cell electrocatalysts, that use only monolayers of noble metals, they will not be useful in applications until a method is developed to make greater quantities of them in a reasonable time. This electrochemical cell is currently capable of making up to 50-g batches of monolayer-coated nanoparticle catalysts, and can be scaled up to produce kilogram quantities.


The apparatus includes a cell for synthesizing noble-metal monolayer or bilayer catalysts onto metal, alloy, core-shell, carbon, carbon-nanotube or carbon-nanohorn nanoparticles. The support nanoparticles, for example Pt or Pd alloys, are made cathodes by applying a potential that facilitates the underpotential deposition of a monolayer of non-noble metals, such as copper. After depositing a copper monolayer, the particles lose connection to the cathode and the solution used for the deposition of copper is replaced by one containing noble metal ions. Noble metal ions displace copper atoms and get deposited as a monolayer on the nanoparticle. The apparatus can operate in batch or continuous mode.


A two-compartment electrochemical cell allows for underpotential deposition of a non-noble metal onto substrate nanoparticles; The non-noble metal coating is subsequently displaced by an atomically thin layer of noble metal. The apparatus can be scaled up easily.

Applications and Industries

Fabrication of nanoparticles with atomically thin coating layers.

Journal Publication & Intellectual Property