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Chrome can make mobile screens glow

Chrome can make mobile screens glow

Chromium could replace rare and expensive precious metals in cell phone screens or solar power systems. Based on this widespread element, researchers at the University of Basel have developed new materials that are very similar to those used previously. The results were published in the journal Nature Chemistry.

Specifically, the new compounds could replace the noble metals osmium and ruthenium, the University of Basel wrote in a statement. Both of these precious metals are very rare and correspondingly expensive. Compared to osmium, the presence of chromium on Earth is about 20,000 times higher. Until now, these rare precious metals have been used to light screens or convert solar energy into fuel. According to the study, the newly created chromium compounds have nearly as good luminescent properties as the previously used osmium compounds.

Chromium as an effective catalyst

In addition, according to the study, the new materials have proven to be effective catalysts for photochemical reactions. If irradiated with a red lamp, the energy of the light can be stored in molecules, which in turn can serve as fuel for other processes. “There is therefore potential here for our new materials to be used in artificial photosynthesis to produce solar fuel,” says research group leader Oliver Wenger.

To do this, the researchers from Basel packed chromium atoms into an organic molecular structure made of carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen. This frame makes it possible to reduce energy losses due to unwanted vibrations and improve the material’s lightweight and catalytic properties.

According to the University of Basel, the framework the researchers built for chromium is more complex than that for precious metals. This is also the disadvantage of the new chrome materials. On the other hand, the chrome in the frame has proven to be more reactive than the precious metals when exposed to light. This enables photochemical reactions that are difficult to initiate.

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