Researchers have boosted the efficiency of water electrolysis. Applying a layer of copper atoms in a conventional platinum electrode reaction intermediates could desorb more easily from the catalyst surface. The modified system generated twice the amount of hydrogen
2016-on-surface chemistry can lead to novel products. "This extremely pure form of chemistry provides us with tailored on-surface nanostructures that can be used in a variety of ways," says Meyer, commenting on the work largely performed by Dr. Shigeki Kawai. In the example presented, the copper surface functions as a catalyst; the chemical reaction of the precursor molecules is controlled by adding heat and can be monitored via atomic force microscopy.