Spark Ablated Nanoparticle Synthesis with VSP-P1

T.E. Plona, D.C. Loveday, J.J. Slack, J.L. Harding
Nanoscience Instruments,
United States

Keywords: spark ablation, iridium, catalyst, nanoparticles


This study presents the Spark Ablation VSP-P1 Nanoprinter as an innovative dry synthesis solution for creating catalyst-coated membranes for PEM electrolyzers with customizable nanoparticles in terms of composition and size. Through the application of a plasma-based spark ablation technique, we swiftly generate iridium nanoparticles with a primary diameter of approximately 5 nm, depositing them directly onto electrode surfaces. The use of iridium-based catalyst nanoparticles in PEM Water Electrolysis systems, while effective, presents challenges such as inconsistent surface areas and particle size, and complexities in synthesis of alloys and use of metal support. These hurdles contribute significantly to the overall costs of electrolyzer systems. The spark ablation method not only streamlines the synthesis of pure iridium, iridium alloys, supported particles, and controlled mixtures but also significantly reduces the preparation time for electrochemical testing. This approach yields catalysts with improved electrochemical surface areas and homogeneity, resulting in heightened activity in hydrogen production. We fine-tuned nanoparticle production parameters to optimize efficiency, showcasing the spark ablation's capacity for clean and efficient catalyst synthesis without organic impurities.