Electrically conductive polycrystalline diamond and particulate metal-based electrodes for fuel cells and other electrochemical applications



Diamond is a material of significant interest in material science given its collection of impressive mechanical, electrical, acoustic, and chemical properties. One method for fabricating thin-films of synthetic diamond is through chemical vapor deposition. Conductive diamond can be grown in the presence of boron. Platinum can be integrated into the diamond surface to form a Pt/diamond composite that is electroactive for generating key elements in fuel cells and other electrochemical applications.


Description of Technology


The invention is a dimensionally stable Pt/diamond composite electrode for use in electrosynthesis, electrochemical-based toxic waste remediation, and energy conversion devices, like fuel cells. The dimensionally stable and corrosion-resistant electrodes consist of well-faceted microcrystallites with dispersed Pt particles incorporated into the diamond surface. The resulting metal nanoparticles are well anchored and in communication with the current collecting diamond substrate. The resulting electroactive composite can support the under-potential deposition of hydrogen, the reduction of oxygen, and the oxidation of methanol. The electroactivity and dispersed Pt nanoparticles are stable after a myriad of applied voltage sweeps.


Key Benefits

  • More control: The invention provides for good control over size distribution of the platinum nanoparticles, which improves catalytic performance.
  • Better performance, lower cost: The invention is significantly better than commercial Pt black (Pt-JM) in the catalytic oxidation of methanol.
  • Versatile technology: Other scarce, valuable metals may be candidates for this technology including rubidium, palladium, silver, gold, etc.




Several markets would benefit from this invention, in particular, companies that manufacture fuel cells, electrolyzers to generate chlorine and ozone, or reactors that electrochemically remediate toxic waste.


Development Status


Prototype exists; proof of concept demonstrated.


Patent Status


US 6884290 (issued Apr 26, 2005)




Greg Swain, Jian Wang


Tech ID




Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Jon Debling
Technology Manager
Michigan State University
Greg Swain
Jian Wang