Catalytic activity of cobalt on nanotextured polymer films for hydrogen production

Niranjan A. Malvadkar, Koray Sekeroglu, Walter J. Dressick, Melik C. Demirel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We describe the mechanism of cobalt and ligand binding on nanotextured poly(chloro-p-xylylene) (PPX) films as supports for catalytic release of H 2 from alkaline aqueous solutions of sodium borohydride. Cobalt catalysts are prepared on nanotextured PPX substrates via electroless plating using a Sn-free Pd(II) colloid with adsorbed pyridine ligand as an adhesion promoter. Gas physisorption studies on PPX, using N2 and CO 2 as probe gases, indicate the presence of micropores (∼1 to 2 nm width) responsible for the adsorption and non-covalent stabilization of pyridine molecules on the nanotextured surface. The strongly adsorbed pyridine molecules promote Co adhesion onto the PPX surface during subsequent electroless deposition, thereby retaining the metal's catalytic activity for H2 evolution even after multiple reaction cycles. In contrast, conventionally deposited PPX is devoid of any nanotexture and contains fewer micropores capable of stabilizing pyridine adsorption, resulting in poor metallization and catalytic activity for H2 evolution. We also demonstrate the effect of patterning the PPX substrate as a means to further improve the activity of the Co catalyst to achieve H2 evolution rates comparable to those obtained using precious metal catalysts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8553-8560
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 15 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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