Research | Queen’s University Canada

Using Fire to Create Order

The air is often thought to be benign and, of course, we need it to breathe. However, on an atomic scale and under certain conditions, the air can be damaging. Electrochemical reactions can be susceptible to trace contamination and electrochemistry experiments often require atomically ordered electrode surfaces. Oxygen in the air can destroy atomic order and contaminate electrodes through the formation of oxides. The image shows a platinum single crystal being annealed using a hydrogen flame, which reorders the surface atoms and decomposes contaminants. Hydrogen flames are often used when cleanliness is important, as they leave no residues.
Submission Year: 
Photographer's affiliation: 
Academic areas: 
Arts and Science
Art of Research categories: 
Invisible discoveries
A platinum single crystal being annealed using a hydrogen flame
Faculty / Researcher
Faculty of Arts and Science
Department of Chemistry
Fundamental Principles of Nature: from Discovery to Application and Innovation
Location of photograph: 
Department of Chemistry, Queen's University
Photographer's name: 
Gregory Jerkiewicz
Display Photographers Affiltion + Faculty or Department: 
Faculty, Chemistry