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Use of silicon particles as catalyst, electrochemical device comprising the particles and method thereof

Short Description

Particle-immobilized electrode used as the anode of a fuel cell to bring about the oxidation of methanol, ethanol or glucose.


Fuel cell technology is viewed as an increasingly important alternative means for generation of energy. To utilize nature's renewable energy sources such as various kinds of organic fuel, new electrocatalysts, especially those with novel properties due to their dimensions on the nanoscale, need to be developed in order to meet the requirements imposed by fuel cell applications. Advantageously, the present invention provides the use of silicon particles as a redox catalyst for three major renewable fuels, namely, methanol, ethanol and glucose. The particle, when immobilized on silicon electrodes give rise to oxidation of the three fuels. The particle-immobilized electrodes generate a "gigantic" increase in the catalytic oxidation current density when the catalysis is performed in darkness.


Dr. Siu-Tung Yau, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering.

Commercial Applications

  • The particle-immobilized electrode can be used in the construction of fuel cells and sensors.

  • The electrode, when used as the anode of a fuel cell, will bring about the oxidation of methanol, ethanol or glucose due to its catalytic ability, converting chemical energy to electrical energy.

  • The electrode can also be used as sensors for these substances in environmental, biomedical, and food/beverage applications.


  • The silicon nanoparticles are significantly less expensive than currently used platinum-based noble metals.

  • The significant increase of catalytic current in darkness provides a unique and convenient way for enhancing the energy conversion.

  • The particle-immobilized electrode does not induce electrode poisoning, which is one of the major problems affecting the performance of present fuel cells.

  • For construction, the silicon nanoparticles can be used to replace enzymes of which stability is a major issue for long-term implantable applications.

IP Information


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