22 May

Nanoparticle Beam Deposition: A Novel Route to the Solvent-Free Creation of Heterogeneous Catalysts

Wednesday 22 May 2019, 12:00pm

ICN2 Seminar Hall, ICN2 Building, UAB

By Prof. Richard E. Palmer,  Nanomaterials Lab, Swansea University, UK

Abstract:Size-selected nanoparticles (atomic clusters), deposited onto supports from the beam in the absence of solvents, represent a new class of model systems for catalysis research and possibly small-scale manufacturing of selective catalysts. To translate these novel and well-controlled systems into practical use, two major challenges have to be addressed.

(1) Very rarely have the actual structures of clusters been obtained from direct experimental measurements, so the metrology of these new material systems has to improve. The availability of aberration-corrected HAADF STEM is transforming our approach to this structure challenge [1,2]. I will address the atomic structures of size-selected Au clusters, deposited onto standard carbon TEM supports from a mass-selected cluster beam source. Specific examples considered are the “magic number clusters” Au20, Au55, Au309, Au561, and Au923. The results expose, for example, the metastability of frequently observed structures, the nature of equilibrium amongst competing isomers, and the cluster surface and core melting points as a function of size. The cluster beam approach is applicable to more complex nanoparticles too, such as oxides and sulphides [3].

(2) A second major challenge is scale-up, needed to enable the beautiful physics and chemistry of clusters to be exploited in applications, notably catalysis [4]. Compared with the (powerful) colloidal route, the nanocluster beam approach [5] involves no solvents and no ligands, while particles can be size selected by a mass filter, and alloys with challenging combinations of metals can readily be produced. However, the cluster approach has been held back by extremely low rates of particle production, only 1 microgram per hour, sufficient for surface science studies but well below what is desirable even for research-level realistic reaction studies. In an effort to address this scale-up challenge, I will discuss the development of a new kind of nanoparticle source, the “Matrix Assembly Cluster Source” (MACS) [4-6]. The results suggest cluster beam yields of grams per hour may ultimately be feasible; 10 mg scale has been demonstrated. Some practical applications [5,7,8] in heterogeneous catalysis (both gas and liquid phases), as well as electrocatalysis, will be presented, showing attractive activities and especially selectivities.

  • [1] Z.Y. Li et al, Nature 451 46 (2008).
  • [2] Z.W. Wang and R.E. Palmer, Phys. Rev. Lett. 108 245502 (2012).
  • [3] D. Escalera-Lopez, Y.B. Niu, J.L. Yin, K. Cooke, N.V. Rees, R.E. Palmer, ACS Catalysis 6 6008 (2016).
  • [4] P.R. Ellis et al, Faraday Discussions 188 39 (2016).
  • [5] R.E. Palmer et al. Acc. Chem. Res. 51 2296 (2018).
  • [6] R.E. Palmer, L. Cao and F. Yin, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 87 046103 (2016).
  • [7] R. Cai, P.R. Ellis, J.L. Yin, J. Liu, C.M. Brown, R. Griffin, G. Chang, D. Yang, J. Ren, K. Cooke, P.T. Bishop, W. Theis and R.E. Palmer, Small 14 1703734 (2018).
  • [8] J. Xu et al, ACS Appl. Energy Mater. 1 3013 (2018).

Hosted by: Prof. Jordi Arbiol, Advanced Electron Nanoscopy Group Leader at ICN2