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Small but Tough: Iridium Nanoparticles Resist Deactivation in Biofuel Production

Scientists characterized catalysts to determine ability to convert methane to more valuable fuels

December 2014

Steam reforming turns methane from biomass into a mixture that can be further converted into transportation fuels. By combining experimental and theoretical approaches, researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory determined key properties of potentially more durable rhodium and iridium catalysts, which drive the reactions. Small iridium particles proved fast and stable.

Bringing Oxides into the Visible Realm

New method to reduce the optical band gap of strontium titantate thin films

December 2014

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have developed a new technique to fabricate epitaxial strontium titanate thin films and reduce the optical band gap from 3.2 eV in the ultraviolet regime to 2.3 eV in the visible light regime through doping. Strontium titanate is one of the most widely studied perovskite oxides given its ferroelectricity, high electronic mobility, and useful properties for solar water splitting. However, the optical band gap is too large for the material to be of use in many technologies that depend on solar light harvesting, such as solar cells and photocatalysts. Doping the material with equal concentrations of lanthanum and chromium solves this problem without creating any undesirable electronic or structural defects in the films.

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