Catalytic Nanotruss Structures Realized by Magnetic Self-Assembly in Pulsed Plasma

Nano Lett. 2018 May 9;18(5):3132-3137. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b00718. Epub 2018 Apr 16.


Tunable nanostructures that feature a high surface area are firmly attached to a conducting substrate and can be fabricated efficiently over significant areas, which are of interest for a wide variety of applications in, for instance, energy storage and catalysis. We present a novel approach to fabricate Fe nanoparticles using a pulsed-plasma process and their subsequent guidance and self-organization into well-defined nanostructures on a substrate of choice by the use of an external magnetic field. A systematic analysis and study of the growth procedure demonstrate that nondesired nanoparticle agglomeration in the plasma phase is hindered by electrostatic repulsion, that a polydisperse nanoparticle distribution is a consequence of the magnetic collection, and that the formation of highly networked nanotruss structures is a direct result of the polydisperse nanoparticle distribution. The nanoparticles in the nanotruss are strongly connected, and their outer surfaces are covered with a 2 nm layer of iron oxide. A 10 μm thick nanotruss structure was grown on a lightweight, flexible and conducting carbon-paper substrate, which enabled the efficient production of H2 gas from water splitting at a low overpotential of 210 mV and at a current density of 10 mA/cm2.

Keywords: Nanotrusses; electrocatalysis; iron; nanoparticles; nanowires; pulsed sputtering.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Catalysis
  • Equipment Design
  • Ferric Compounds / chemistry*
  • Hydrogen / chemistry*
  • Iron / chemistry*
  • Magnetic Fields
  • Magnetics / instrumentation
  • Magnetics / methods
  • Magnetite Nanoparticles / chemistry
  • Magnetite Nanoparticles / ultrastructure
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Nanostructures / ultrastructure
  • Nanotechnology / instrumentation
  • Nanotechnology / methods*
  • Plasma Gases / chemistry
  • Water / chemistry*


  • Ferric Compounds
  • Magnetite Nanoparticles
  • Plasma Gases
  • Water
  • ferric oxide
  • Hydrogen
  • Iron