The Fast Way to a Better Fuel Cell

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Science  12 Jun 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5370, pp. 1690-1691
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5370.1690

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Researchers attempting to apply the techniques of combinatorial chemistry--in which hundreds or thousands of different compounds are synthesized and tested simultaneously--to finding new catalysts have come up with a new method for quickly selecting the better catalysts for everything from fuel cells to batteries. On page 1735, they report a technique in which the presence of an effective catalyst is signaled with a fluorescent glow and which has already yielded a concrete result--a new catalyst for converting methanol to electricity in fuel cells.