Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > The gold standard

Abstract:
Precious elements such as platinum work well as catalysts in chemical reactions, but require large amounts of metal and can be expensive. However, computational modeling below the nanoscale level may allow researchers to design more efficient and affordable catalysts from gold. These novel computer simulations to better explore how catalysts function at the nanoscale, led by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, was featured as the cover article in the January issue of "Catalysis Science & Technology," published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The gold standard

Pittsburgh, PA | Posted on December 9th, 2014

"Catalysis at the sub-nanoscale: complex CO oxidation chemistry on a few Au atoms" (DOI: 10.1039/C4CY01295J) was led by principal investigator Giannis Mpourmpakis, assistant professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the Swanson School. Co-authors were Michail Stamatakis, lecturer of Chemical Engineering at the University College London (UK), Dionisios Vlachos, professor of Chemical and Biomolecular engineering at the University of Delaware, and student researchers Natalie Austin and Nima Nikbin.

"Gold has been widely used as jewelry since ancient times because it does not corrode and keeps its bright yellow color," Dr. Mpourmpakis said. "However, subnanoscale catalysts consisting of only a few gold atoms show very rich and difficult to understand chemistry and finding the right composition requires trial and error experimentation in the lab. For example, a catalyst that consists of eight gold atoms can be extremely active for oxidation reactions, whereas the catalyst of six gold atoms is not active at all. This behavior has puzzled many researchers over the last decade."

According to Dr. Mpourmpakis, these new computational modeling methods reduce the time and expense of lab experimentation and allow for more precise predictions of how to design a better catalyst using minute amount of metal to reduce its cost. For example, a typical reaction on platinum catalysts would require thousands of atoms of rare metal, while the same reaction utilizing gold might require fewer than ten. The greatest potential impact for this process would be in energy-and-environment-related fields, such as the catalytic reactions that convert carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide in automobile exhaust and the production of hydrogen using water and carbon monoxide.

Dr. Stamatakis highlighted that "our study unravels a high degree of complexity in the catalytic behavior of small gold clusters. We were very excited to reveal many competing physicochemical phenomena on the catalyst that give rise to the activity of specific catalyst sizes."

This and other computational research undertaken by Dr. Mpourmpakis endeavors to build a more efficient modeling process to accelerate catalyst design while improving efficiency and reducing costs.

"In lab experiments you can't see in detail the physical and chemical properties that affect the catalytic activity, but with computations you can virtually "see" them and reduce experimental trial and error," he explained. "By designing an effective catalyst with only a few atoms of metal, we can create a more sustainable method to improve chemical reactions across many industries, especially throughout the energy sector."

####

About University of Pittsburgh
The Swanson School's Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering serves undergraduate and graduate engineering students, the University and industry, through education, research, and participation in professional organizations and regional/national initiatives. The Department maintains a tradition of excellence in education and research, evidenced by recent national awards including numerous NSF CAREER Awards, a Beckman Young Investigator Award, an NIH Director's New Innovator Award, and the DOE Hydrogen Program R&D Award, among others. Active areas of research in the Department include Biological and Biomedical Systems; Energy and Sustainability; and Materials Modeling and Design.

The faculty holds a record of success in obtaining research funding such that the Department ranks within the top 25 U.S. ChE departments for Federal R&D spending in recent years with annual research expenditures exceeding $7 million. The vibrant research culture within the Department includes active collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Center for Simulation and Modeling, the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, the Petersen Institute of NanoScience and Engineering and the U.S. DOE-affiliated Institute for Advanced Energy Solutions.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Paul Kovach

412-624-0265

Copyright © University of Pittsburgh

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

Cover:

Manuscript:

Related News Press

News and information

Neutrons unlock the secrets of limoncello May 21st, 2019

Machine learning speeds modeling of experiments aimed at capturing fusion energy on Earth May 17th, 2019

Manipulating atoms one at a time with an electron beam: New method could be useful for building quantum sensors and computers May 17th, 2019

New surface treatment could improve refrigeration efficiency: A slippery surface for liquids with very low surface tension promotes droplet formation, facilitating heat transfer May 17th, 2019

Chemistry

Neutrons unlock the secrets of limoncello May 21st, 2019

Discoveries

Neutrons unlock the secrets of limoncello May 21st, 2019

Manipulating atoms one at a time with an electron beam: New method could be useful for building quantum sensors and computers May 17th, 2019

New surface treatment could improve refrigeration efficiency: A slippery surface for liquids with very low surface tension promotes droplet formation, facilitating heat transfer May 17th, 2019

Generating high-quality single photons for quantum computing: New dual-cavity design emits more single photons that can carry quantum information at room temperature May 17th, 2019

Materials/Metamaterials

ZEN gets $1m grant for graphene-enhanced concrete project May 12th, 2019

Computing faster with quasi-particles May 10th, 2019

Coal could yield treatment for traumatic injuries: Rice, Texas A&M, UTHealth scientists discover coal-derived ‘dots’ are effective antioxidant April 25th, 2019

Multistep self-assembly opens door to new reconfigurable materials April 19th, 2019

Announcements

Neutrons unlock the secrets of limoncello May 21st, 2019

Machine learning speeds modeling of experiments aimed at capturing fusion energy on Earth May 17th, 2019

Manipulating atoms one at a time with an electron beam: New method could be useful for building quantum sensors and computers May 17th, 2019

New surface treatment could improve refrigeration efficiency: A slippery surface for liquids with very low surface tension promotes droplet formation, facilitating heat transfer May 17th, 2019

Automotive/Transportation

New Argonne coating could have big implications for lithium batteries May 14th, 2019

Transforming waste heat into clean energy: Researchers use supercomputers to explore new materials for thermoelectric generation May 2nd, 2019

Magnetoresistive sensors for near future innovative development March 22nd, 2019

Lightweight metal foams become bone hard and explosion proof after being nanocoated March 14th, 2019

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project