tuning exact ratios of two metals in a catalyst may enable new directions in catalysis science
Michael Janik (left), Penn State professor of chemical engineering, and Robert Rioux, the Penn State Friedrich G. Helfferich Professor of Chemical Engineering, published a Nature Chemistry paper wherein which they tested efficient, customizable catalytic reactions that cut down on unneeded competitive reactions and isolated a successful, predictable one.  Credit: Kelby Hochreither/Penn State

In the last 20 years, there have been efforts to reduce fossil fuel use in plastics manufacturing, and, according to Penn State researchers, efficient, customizable catalytic reactions—where two metals are combined using a catalyst, or molecule that remains unchanged during a reaction—are an attractive alternative.

Researchers have found a way to make catalytic reactions less wasteful and more cost effective by controlling the placement of each atom on the catalyst surface. Controlling or customizing the catalysts cuts down on unneeded competitive reactions and isolates a successful, predictable reaction. These results were published in Nature Chemistry.

“By isolating an active metal in an inert host, and precisely controlling the exact ratio of the metals, we can get a targeted pattern of the two metal atoms,” said Michael Janik, Penn State professor of chemical engineering and co-principal investigator for the study.

Researchers used palladium, which served as the active catalyst component, and zinc, the inert host, to form an intermetallic, a compound with two or more types of metal atoms arranged in a repeating pattern.

The researchers, led by Janik and co-principal investigator Robert Rioux, the Penn State Friedrich G. Helfferich Professor of Chemical Engineering, tested different amounts of zinc and palladium and found that different ratios of zinc-to-palladium had widely different catalytic reactivity.

The researchers tuned the ratio of palladium to zinc to form surfaces that contained only isolated palladium monomers and trimers, or clusters of three adjacent atoms. They demonstrated that both palladium monomers and trimers could hydrogenate —or add hydrogen gas to—acetylene, and thus create ethylene, a gas needed to process plastics.

But in the process, palladium trimers also catalyzed an ethylene hydrogenation reaction, an undesired consequence, which ruled out using trimers. Isolated palladium monomers surrounded by zinc atoms, however, were an effective configuration for selectively hydrogenating acetylene.

Because of their work on this paper, Janik, Rioux and their collaborators received a $1.2 million grant in 2019 from the U.S. Department of Energy with the goal to extend the science into new applications.

“We will use computational modeling and machine learning to predict designs of other intermetallics that will arrange certain numbers of metal atoms in unique configurations,” Janik said. “We are now trying to find other combinations of two metals that allow us to control the arrangement of the two metal atoms.”

Janik, Rioux and collaborators at Penn State and Carnegie Mellon University are now using data science approaches to discover other intermetallic catalysts with precise and tunable reaction sites. Working with Zachary Ulissi, associate professor of chemical engineering at CMU, they coded a publicly available web application, known as Nuclearity Zoo, which calculates the arrangement and shape of any combination of active and inactive metals and lists all the potential atomic arrangements of them. The app uses graph theory approaches to categorize active site shapes and sizes.

“For example, there are 237 ways palladium can be combined with zinc to get a pair of palladium atoms that are isolated,” Janik said, referring to the web app’s results when inputting the two metals. “Then you can download the structure of the atoms for each of the arrangements.”

The research group is now using the app and data science approaches to computationally predict active and selective catalysts for a number of industrially important reactions. More information: Anish Dasgupta et al, Atomic control of active-site ensembles in ordered alloys to enhance hydrogenation selectivity, Nature Chemistry (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41557-021-00855-3 Journal information: Nature Chemistry

Provided by Pennsylvania State University Citation: Tuning exact ratios of two metals in a catalyst may enable new directions in catalysis science (2022, April 26) retrieved 26 April 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-04-tuning-exact-ratios-metals-catalyst.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

TECH NEWS RELATED

NASA Kicks Off Artemis Lunar Program with CAPSTONE Launch

This site may earn affiliate commissions from the links on this page. Terms of use. NASA has big plans for the next decade as humanity returns to the moon decades after the end of the Apollo program. While the agency is still fiddling with the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket ...

View more: NASA Kicks Off Artemis Lunar Program with CAPSTONE Launch

Samsung One UI 5.0 is coming soon for Galaxy S22 series

Samsung is rolling out One UI 4.1 based on Android 12 for the smartphones that are eligible. However, in the meantime, the company is already working on One UI 5.0. The next version of the company’s most successful skin is about to be released. As per information from SamMobile, the ...

View more: Samsung One UI 5.0 is coming soon for Galaxy S22 series

Nothing Phone Will Have a Mid-Range Snapdragon Processor

The device won't come with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 after all.

View more: Nothing Phone Will Have a Mid-Range Snapdragon Processor

Grab an Unlocked Surface Duo for Just $420 With This Early Prime Day Deal

This half-phone, half-tablet foldable features two screens for better productivity, streaming, gaming and more.

View more: Grab an Unlocked Surface Duo for Just $420 With This Early Prime Day Deal

Will Apple's iPhone 14 Have a Higher Price? What the Rumors Say

The iPhone 14 is rumored to be a more significant upgrade than the iPhone 13, creating uncertainty about whether Apple will raise its price.

View more: Will Apple's iPhone 14 Have a Higher Price? What the Rumors Say

W3C Steers Course To Become a Nonprofit Organization

The Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) announced on Tuesday that it’s planning to launch as a nonprofit organization, kicking off in January 2023. The W3C will be chartered as a nonprofit under U.S. 501(c)(3) legal doctrine. That stipulation will make the W3C a tax-exempt “charitable organization” prohibited from benefitting private ...

View more: W3C Steers Course To Become a Nonprofit Organization

Tencent seeks to expand game technology application to other sectors

A GIF showcasing the digital Beijing Central Axis created by Tencent Games using game technologies. /Tencent Tencent Games, one of the most profitable gaming giants in the world, is exploring expanding the application of game-related technologies to other sectors. At its yearly Tencent Games Annual Conference, SPARK 2022, which ...

View more: Tencent seeks to expand game technology application to other sectors

Assigning moving features in high-speed atomic force microscopy

Graphical abstract. Credit: Biophysics and Physicobiology (2022). DOI: 10.2142/biophysico.bppb-v19.0016 Researchers at Kanazawa University report in Biophysics and Physicobiology how to optimize high-speed atomic force microscopy experiments on live cell membranes, so that moving objects like molecules can be properly followed from frame to frame. In video microscopy techniques, a ...

View more: Assigning moving features in high-speed atomic force microscopy

Rescuing an ancient fish species on the brink of extinction

Life in the Earth's interior is as productive as in some ocean waters

Climate Impact X selects Nasdaq Technology to power new global carbon exchange

Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory is still exporting Model Y to Germany

Nanoscale Structures and Thermal Conductivity Link Revealed in Amorphous Silicon

Ukraine arrests cybercrime gang operating over 400 phishing sites

Huawei will announce the HUAWEI Tag tracker on July 4

NZXT Launches Its First Lag-Free 4K Capture Card

Keeping Food on the Table in a Warming World: Bolstering Plant Immunity Against the Heat

Microsoft Azure FabricScape bug let hackers hijack Linux clusters

Best Nintendo Switch controllers for kids 2022

Fertilizers from composting plants contain large quantities of biodegradable plastics

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News