Nanoporous metals (NPMs) made by dealloying represent a class of functional materials with the unique structural properties of mechanical rigidity, electrical conductivity, and high corrosion resistance. They also possess a porous network structure with feature dimensions tunable within a wide range from a few nanometers to several microns. Coupled with a rich surface chemistry for further functionalization, NPMs have great potential for applications in heterogeneous catalysis, electrocatalysis, fuel cell technologies, biomolecular sensing, surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS), and plasmonics. This article summarizes recent advances in some of these areas and, in particular, we focus on the discussion of microstructure, catalytic, and optical properties of nanoporous gold (NPG). With advanced electron microscopy, threedimensional tomographic reconstructions of NPG have been realized that yield quantitative characterizations of key morphological parameters involved in the intricate structure. Catalytic and electrocatalytic investigations demonstrate that bare NPG is already catalytically active for many important reactions such as CO and glucose oxidation. Surface functionalization with other metals, such as Pt, produces very efficient electrocatalysts, which have been used as promising fuel cell electrode materials with very low precious metal loading. Additionally, NPG and related materials possess outstanding optical properties in plasmonics and SERS. They hold promise to act as highly active, stable, and economically affordable substrates in high-performance instrumentation applications for chemical inspection and biomolecular diagnostics. Finally, we conclude with some perspectives that appear to warrant future investigation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry