HOUSTON, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Chemists in Rice University of Texas have produced a catalyst based on laser-induced graphene that splits water into hydrogen on one side and oxygen on the other side.
According to a news release by the Rice University recently, the easily fabricated material developed by the Rice lab of chemist James Tour offers a robust and efficient way to store chemical energy and the inexpensive material may be a practical component in generating the hydrogen for use in future fuel cells.
Tests showed the thin catalyst producing large bubbles of oxygen and hydrogen on either side simultaneously.
The catalyst is another use for versatile laser-induced graphene (LIG), which Rice introduced in 2014. LIG is produced by treating the surface of a sheet of polyimide, an inexpensive plastic, with a laser.
Co-authors are graduate students Chenhao Zhang, Huilong Fei, Yilun Li and Junwei Sha. Sha is also a student at Tianjin University and the Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemical Science and Engineering, Tianjin, China. Tour is the T.T. and W.F. Chao Chair in Chemistry as well as a professor of computer science and of materials science and nanoengineering at Rice.
The research was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the National Science Foundation-funded and Rice-based Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment Engineering Research Center and the Chinese Scholarship Council.
The process is the subject of a paper in the American Chemical Society's Applied Materials and Interfaces.