Scientists have succeeded in developing precisely controlled alloy nanoparticles ‘multimetallic nanoclusters (MNCs)’ made of three metals: copper, platinum, and gold.
They also discovered that MNCs show catalytic activity that is 24 times greater than commercially available carbon-supported platinum catalysts in the oxidization of hydrocarbons using oxygen in the air.
The research group led by Kimihisa Yamamoto of Tokyo institute of Technology developed a method of synthesizing microscopic alloy nanoparticles using branched molecules “dendrimers” they themselves had developed in Yamamoto Atom Hybrid Project on the ERATO program, the Exploratory Research for Advanced Technology, research funding program supported by Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).
Molecules called dendrimers have a regular branching structure with only one definite molecular weight although they are classified as macromolecules.
The research group implemented many coordination sites for forming metal ions and complexes.
By using a dendrimer with such coordination sites as a template for the nanoparticle, the group was able to synthesize a nanoparticle with a controlled number of atoms.