Corannulene shows promise as a hydrogen store
26 Oct 2020





​Muon resonance (µLCR) signal at 40 and and 410 K for the outer hydrogen-like adduct radical in Corannulene. Solid and dashed lines represent respectively the DFT-modelled polarization and fitting to Gaussian (40 K) or Lorenzian (410 K) lineshapes. Peak narrowing at 410 K suggests an activated dynamics in the high temperature phase. ​​


​​Carbon nanostructures such as fullerene buckyballs have shown potential for use as hydrogen storage systems. The presence of a curved structure enables the reversible formation of covalent bonds with atomic hydrogen as well as coordination with molecular hydrogen, H2. Corannulene (C20H10) has a cup-like shape, and so could show the same possible storage potential.

This study used muon-spin spectroscopy on HiFi in combination with physisorption analysis to investigate the possible interactions between corannulene with both molecular and atomic hydrogen. The use of muonium as proxy for atomic hydrogen enables the collection of valuable information about the behaviour of atomic hydrogen, while the gas-physisorption analysis was able to measure the hydrogen diffusion through the crystal. 

The results indicate that hydrogen molecules are able to diffuse through the bulk of the open crystal structure of corannulene and that there is a high affinity for the hydrogen atoms to form covalent bonds, illustrated by the formation of stable muonium adducts at all possible active sites of the corranulene molecule.  

Their results suggest that corannulene could be exploited as a novel platform for hydrogen capture and storage, when combined with a suitable catalyst to promote H2 dissociation, and that doping with alkali ions could bring this storage into a practical temperature range.  ​


ionThe interaction of hydrogen with corannulene, a promising n​ew platform for energy storage. Carbon 155 (2019) 432-437 


Funding: EPSRC 

Authors: M Gaboardi (Elettra, ISIS), F Pratt (ISIS), C Milanese (Universitá Degli Studi di Pavia), J Taylor (ISIS), J Siegel (Tianjin University), F Fernandez-Alonso (ISIS, University College London) ​

Contact: Gianchandani, Shikha (STFC,RAL,ISIS)