Northwestern Home Page   Catalysis: Epitaxy Matters

Nature composes some of her loveliest poems
for the microscope and the telescope
Theodore Roszak

Images of Pt nanoparticles on SrTiO3, on the left at low magnification and on the right at high.

Researchers at Northwestern University's Institute for Catalysis in Energy Processing have discovered a new strategy for fabricating metal nanoparticles in catalysts which promises to enhance the selectivity and yield for a wide range of structure-sensitive catalytic reactions.

It is known that nanoparticles with only certain crystal faces exposed perform much better as catalysts in many industrially important reactions. Previous attempts to design such catalysts by changing just the nanoparticle shape have failed, as the particles eventually revert back to the lowest energy structure. The new approach is to design not the particle, rather the support that it is sitting on, so the nanoparticle automatically has the desirable exposed surfaces. These nanoparticles will then be stable and should survive the rigors of long-term use as catalysts. The findings were published online Feb. 2nd by the journal Nano Letters.

The Nano Letters paper is titled Oriented Catalytic Platinum Nanoparticles on High Surface Area Strontium Titanate Nanocuboids. The authors of the paper are James A. Enterkin (first author), Kenneth R. Poeppelmeier and Laurence D. Marks from Northwestern.

The Northwestern University Institute for Catalysis in Energy Processing, funded through the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Science, supported the research.

See also the description in the February 14th issue of C&EN and see also the PDF