Electro-oxidation of organic fuels catalyzed by ultrasmall silicon nanoparticles

Yongki Choi, Gang Wang, Munir H. Nayfeh, Siu Tung Yau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ultrasmall colloidal silicon nanoparticles behave as electrocatalysts for the oxidation of ethanol, methanol, and glucose. Electrochemical characterization of particle-immobilized electrodes shows a catalytic onset between -0.4 and 0 V versus Ag/AgCl at neutral pH. The onset potential and the catalytic strength are dependent on the particle size. A prototype hybrid biofuel cell was constructed, using the particles as the anode catalyst. The catalytic activity undergoes a 50-fold increase under alkaline condition compared to that under acidic condition. An unexpected light dependence of the catalytic current was observed. A significant increase in the catalytic current is obtained when the catalysis is performed in darkness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number164103
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number16
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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