Spontaneous formation of nanoparticles on electrospun nanofibres
We report the spontaneous formation of nanoparticles on smooth nanofibres in a single-step electrospinning process, as an inexpensive and scalable method for producing high-surface-area composites. Layers of nanofibres, containing the proton conducting electrolyte, caesium dihydrogen phosphate, are deposited uniformly over large area substrates from clear solutions of the electrolyte mixed with polymers. Under certain conditions, the normally smooth nanofibres develop caesium dihydrogen phosphate nanoparticles in large numbers on their external surface. The nanoparticles appear to originate from the electrolyte within the fibres, which is transported to the outer surface after the fibres are deposited, as evidenced by cross-sectional imaging of the electrospun fibres. The presence of nanoparticles on the fibre surface yields composites with increased surface area of exposed electrolyte, which ultimately enhances electrocatalytic performance. Indeed, solid acid fuel cells fabricated with electrodes from processed nanofibre-nanoparticle composites, produced higher cell voltage as compared to fuel cells fabricated with state-of-the-art electrodes.
Additional Information© The Author(s) 2018. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. Received: 29 January 2018 Accepted: 16 October 2018. Published online: 09 November 2018. The authors thank Miguel Gonzalez of Caltech and Michel Vong of The University of Edinburgh for assistance with the project. Thomas Glen of The University of Edinburgh helped with the focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy. The information, data, or work presented herein was funded in part by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), U.S. Department of Energy, under Award Number DE-AR0000495. Author Contributions: N.R. and K.P.G. designed the experiment and co-wrote the paper. N.R. performed the experiments and characterised the electrospun materials, F.D.C. built the fuel cells, and tested the samples. C.R.I.C. interpreted the electrochemical data. K.P.G. supervised the project. Data availability: The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request. The source data underlying Fig. 4e are provided as a Source Data file. The authors declare no competing interests.
Published - s41467-018-07243-5.pdf
Supplemental Material - 41467_2018_7243_MOESM1_ESM.pdf
Supplemental Material - 41467_2018_7243_MOESM2_ESM.pdf
Supplemental Material - 41467_2018_7243_MOESM3_ESM.xlsx