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Development of Oil/Water/Surfactant Microemulsions as Templates for Micro and Nanostructured Metal Foams

  • Catherine Cock (a1), Woo Renee (a2), Brenda O'Neil (a3), McKenzie Leigh (a4), Jason Manning (a5) and Martin Gerard Bakker (a6)...

Abstract

There are a range of applications for bicontinuous metal micro and nanostructures including as porous electrodes for supercapacitors, in fuel cells and in advanced batteries. We have previously demonstrated a number of methods of generating metal nanostructures by electrodeposition into various templates including hexagonal surfactant phases and mesoporous silica. More recently we have been exploring the application of oil-in-water microemulsions as templates. We have found empirically that the formation of microstructure is strongly effected by the viscosity of the oil phase, the rate of metal electroreduction and the surface roughness of the substrate. We interpret these observations as reflecting a competition between growth of the metal around the oil droplet and the redistribution of the oil in front of the growing metal film. We are currently exploring bicontinuous and water-in-oil phases with the expectation that such templates will yield bicontinuous metal films with larger accessible surface areas. Preliminary results with water-in-oil phases appear to show the formation of bicontinuous nanostructured films on the 20 nm length scale.

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