Researchers have highlighted how small structures called POMs could have huge implications for the future of the clean energy sector.
Polyoxometalates (abbreviated POM) are small, complex molecular structures created from a combination of oxygen and metal atoms.
Normally metals that have been oxidized in this way have a free electron, but POMs have up to 12 free choices available because of their unique structure.
QUT nanomaterial expert Deepak Dubal said these additional electrons greatly increase the energy conversion and storage capacity of POMs.
“I am really convinced of the promise of the POMs, I work hard with this material and we are very excited about its potential,” he said.
A group of researchers, led by Professor Dubal, has been researching the properties of POMs for some time and has gathered their research, as well as much of the rest of current research, available in a featured article in the latest issue of the journal. . Energy and environmental sciences.
“It’s been known for a long time, but it’s been being studied in depth recently because we only recently had sophisticated equipment with which we could manipulate and measure POMs,” he said.
“We have also begun to have a need in fields such as energy storage where these properties would be very useful, so in the last two or three years a lot of work has been done on this material, including our equipment.”
POMs are extremely small (only a nanometer wide, 20,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair), but they are actually extremely large for a nanoparticle, giving them a lot of reactive surface.