A research team composed of electrochemists and materials scientists from two continents has produced a new form of the industrially-important metal platinum: 24-facet nanocrystals whose catalytic activity per unit area can be as much as four times higher than existing commercial platinum catalysts.

The new platinum nanocrystals, whose "tetrahexahedral" structure had not previously been reported in the metal, could improve the efficiency of chemical processes such as those used to catalyze fuel oxidation and produce hydrogen for fuel cells.

Platinum nanocrystals boost catalytic activity for fuel oxidation, hydrogen production