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Carbon nanomaterials as catalysts for hydrogen uptake and release in NaAlH4
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Materials Theory.
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2009 (English)In: Nano letters (Print), ISSN 1530-6984, E-ISSN 1530-6992, Vol. 9, no 4, 1501-1505 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A synergistic approach involving experiment and first-principles theory not only shows that carbon nanostructures can be used as catalysts for hydrogen uptake and release in complex metal hydrides such as sodium alanate, NaAlH(4), but also provides an unambiguous understanding of how the catalysts work. Here we show that the stability of NaAlH(4) originates with the charge transfer from Na to the AlH(4) moiety, resulting in an ionic bond between Na(+) and AlH(4)(-) and a covalent bond between Al and H. Interaction of NaAlH(4) with an electronegative substrate such as carbon fullerene or nanotube affects the ability of Na to donate its charge to AlH(4), consequently weakening the Al-H bond and causing hydrogen to desorb at lower temperatures as well as facilitating the absorption of H(2) to reverse the dehydrogenation reaction. In addition, based on our experimental observations and theoretical calculations it appears the curvature of the carbon nanostructure plays a role in the catalytic process. Ab initio molecular dynamics simulation further reveals the time evolution of the charge transfer process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 9, no 4, 1501-1505 p.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-122019DOI: 10.1021/nl803498eISI: 000265030000041PubMedID: 19351192OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-122019DiVA: diva2:308108
Available from: 2010-04-06 Created: 2010-04-06 Last updated: 2012-03-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Insights into Materials Properties from Ab Initio Theory: Diffusion, Adsorption, Catalysis & Structure
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Insights into Materials Properties from Ab Initio Theory: Diffusion, Adsorption, Catalysis & Structure
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this thesis, density functional theory (DFT) calculations and DFT based ab initio molecular dynamics simulations have been employed in order to gain insights into materials properties like diffusion, adsorption, catalysis, and structure.

In transition metals, absorbed hydrogen atoms self-trap due to localization of metal d-electrons. The self-trapping state is shown to highly influence hydrogen diffusion in the classical over-barrier jump temperature region. Li diffusion in Li-N-H systems is investigated. The diffusion in Li3N is shown to be controlled by the concentration of vacancies. Exchanging one Li for H (Li2NH), gives a system where the diffusion no longer is dependent on the concentrations of vacancies, but instead on N-H rotations. Furthermore, exchanging another Li for H (LiNH2), results in a blockade of Li diffusion. For high-surface area hydrogen storage materials, metal organic frameworks and covalent organic frameworks, the hydrogen adsorption is studied. In metal organic frameworks, a Li-decoration is also suggested as a way to increase the hydrogen adsorption energy. In NaAlH4 doped with transition metals (TM), the hypothesis of TM-Al intermetallic alloys as the main catalytic species is supported. The source of the catalytic effect of carbon nanostructures on hydrogen desorption from NaAlH4 is shown to be the high electronegativity of the carbon nanostructures. A space-group optimized ab initio random structure search method is used to find a new ground state structure for BeC2 and MgC2. The fast change between the amorphous and the crystalline phase of GeSbTe phase-change materials is suggested to be due to the close resemblance between the local amorphous structure and the crystalline structure. Finally, we show that more than 80% of the voltage in the lead acid battery is due to relativistic effects.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2010. 81 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 772
Density functional theory, Molecular dynamics, Diffusion, Catalysis, Adsorption, Random structure search, Hydrogen-storage materials, Phase-change materials
National Category
Condensed Matter Physics Condensed Matter Physics
Research subject
Physics with spec. in Atomic, Molecular and Condensed Matter Physics
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-131331 (URN)978-91-554-7907-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-11-12, Siegbansalen, Ångströmlaboratoriet, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Felaktigt tryckt som Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology 702Available from: 2010-10-21 Created: 2010-09-30 Last updated: 2011-04-04Bibliographically approved

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