Document Type

Article

Journal Title

The Journal of Chemical Physics

Volume Number

122

Issue Number

20

First Page

204713-1

Last Page

204713-11

Version

Publisher PDF: the final published version of the article, with professional formatting and typesetting

Original Citation

Sheehan, D.P. and T. Seideman, Intrinsically biased electrocapacitive catalysis; J. Chem. Physics 122 204713 (2005).

Publication Date

5-2005

Disciplines

Physics

Abstract

We propose the application of the contact potential from metal-metal junctions or the built-in potential of semiconductor p-np-n junctions to induce or catalyze chemical reactions. Free of external sources, this intrinsic potential across microscale and nanoscale vacuum gaps establishes electric fields in excess of 10^7V/m. The electrostatic potential energy of these fields can be converted into useful chemical energy. As an example, we focus on the production of superthermal gas ions to drive reactions. Analysis indicates that this intrinsically biased electrocapacitive catalysis can achieve locally directed ion energies up to a few electron volts and local gas temperatureboosts in excess of 10^4K. Practical considerations for implementation and experimental tests are considered.

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