May 22 – 25, 2023
Europe/London timezone

Noble metal coated high-aspect-ratio nanopore arrays and porous nanotube networks for catalysis in chemical synthesis and fuel cells

May 22, 2023, 11:05 AM
Oral Presentation (MS22) Manufactured Porous Materials for Industrial Applications MS22


Prof. Wolfgang J. Ensinger (Technical University of Darmstadt)


Nanopore arrays, fabricated by the track-etching technique, mostly in Polycarbonate (PC) or Polyethylenterephthalate (PET) foils, are commercially available. These are formed by irradiation with highly energetic ions, such as Ar, from e.g. a cyclotron, and chemically etching the damage tracks up into cylindrical nanopores. For the present study, a linear heavy ion accelerator was applied, and, next to PC and PET, also Polyimide with a better chemical and thermal stability than the polyesters was used. The foils were up to 30 µm thick, the nanopores with an areal density up to 10-9 cm-2 had a diameter of down to 10 nm, corresponding to very high aspect ratio tubes.
Uniformly coating the inner walls of those nanopores with a thin reactive metal film constitutes a challenging process, since the thin film material transport into the nanopores has to be well controlled, particularly to avoid clogging of the apertures. By means of a kinetically controlled electroless deposition process, the nanopore inner walls were uniformly coated with thin films of gold, platinum, palladium, platinum-ruthenium, platinum-palladium, and palladium-coated nickel, leading to respective nanotubes embedded in the polymer foil. This has been evidenced by cross-sectional SEM and TEM investigations.
Embedded Pd nanotubes were tested for their performance as catalyst for a flow-through reactor. In UV-Vis absorption spectrometric measurements, they showed a very high efficiency towards the nitrophenol reduction to aminophenol, used for the fabrication of paracetamol (acetaminophen), the well-known analgetic and antipyretic [1]. The nanotubes show an advantage over comparable nano particle based systems: in contrast to the latter, they are more mechanically stable and do not agglomerate, leading to a better long-term stability of the catalyst.
When the ion beams tracks in the polymer foil are crossed and the resulting nanopores are coated with metal, the dissolution of the polymer foil leads to free standing porous nanotube networks. Due to the cross-linking, they are mechanically very stable, despite the very small diameter of the individual nanotubes. With their large internal surface area, they constitute highly efficient catalysts for the methanol oxidation in Direct Methanol Fuel Cells. This has been shown for Pt-Pd alloy and Pd-doped Ni networks by means of electrochemical half-cell methanol oxidation measurements [2, 3].


1) F. Muench, M. Oezaslan, I. Svoboda, W. Ensinger, Electroless plating of ultrathin palladium films: self-initiated deposition and application in microreactor fabrication, Materials Research Express 10, 105010, 2015
2) T. Stohr, A. Fischer, F. Muench, M. Antoni, S. Wollstadt, C. Lohaus, U. Kunz, O. Clemens, A. Klein, W. Ensinger, Electroless nano‐plating of Pd‐Pt alloy nanotube networks: Catalysts with full compositional control for the methanol oxidation reaction, ChemElectroChem 7, 855-864, 2020
3) T. Boettcher, S. Stojkovikj, P. Khadke, U. Kunz, M.T. Mayer, C. Roth, W. Ensinger, F. Muench, Electrodeposition of palladium-dotted nickel nanowire networks as a robust self-supported methanol electrooxidation catalyst, Journal of Material Science 22, 56, 12620-12633, 2021

Participation In-Person
Country Germany
MDPI Energies Student Poster Award No, do not submit my presenation for the student posters award.
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Primary author

Prof. Wolfgang J. Ensinger (Technical University of Darmstadt)


Mr Manfred E. Ensinger (Technical University of Darmstadt)

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