NSLS Synchrotron Catalysis Consortium Receives 3-Year Funding Renewal
Funding for the Synchrotron Catalysis Consortium (SCC) – an organization meant to improve and expand catalysis research by taking advantage of the unique investigation tools available at the NSLS – has been renewed through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences. The three-year, $1 million award takes effect on August 15, 2008.
The SCC promotes the utilization of synchrotron techniques to perform cutting-edge catalysis nanoscience research through: providing dedicated beam time for x-ray absorption fine structure (XAFS) experiments on NSLS beamlines X18B and X19A; supplying research staff to assist in the experimental set-up and data analysis; training courses and help sessions; and the development and testing of new hardware and software for catalytic and electrocatalytic research.
Participants in the 2007 Applications of XAFS to Nanocatalysis Science Workshop, the latest course organized and co-sponsored by the SCC
In the near future, the SCC will help upgrade NSLS beamline X18A to enhance the facility’s capability for catalysis research. The upgrade will allow for in-situ, time-resolved, simultaneous x-ray diffraction and spectroscopy measurements.
Although similar types of synchrotron catalysis consortia exist in Europe and Japan, the SCC is the first of its kind in the United States. Established in 2005, the SCC consists of group members from academic, national, and industrial laboratories with extensive experience in the areas of catalysis, electrocatalysis, advanced materials, and synchrotron spectroscopies. Since its creation, the SCC has helped more than 40 catalysis groups in their efforts to perform beamline research. The consortium also has attracted 10 new catalysis groups from U.S. institutions and facilitated the production of more than 40 publications.
Figure 1. The electron micrographs of a Au/Pt/C catalyst made by displacement of a Cu monolayer by Au. High-resolution images show atomic rows with spacings that are consistent with the Pt(111) single crystal structure. A different structure in the areas indicated by the arrows is ascribed to the Au clusters. This work was performed partially on the SSC-run beamlines X18B, and X19A.
Figure 2. A representation of the Sn-β-zeolite structure as derived from x-ray data collected at an SCC-run beamline. The red areas mark one possible Sn-atom pair.
“In addition to paving the path for advanced catalysis research, the SCC has provided a new model for operating synchrotron facilities,” said Yeshiva University’s Anatoly Frenkel, one of the principal investigators of the consortium. “Such a model demonstrates a closer interaction between funding agencies, beamline scientists, and researchers from academic and national laboratories.”
Examples of research conducted on SCC-run beamlines include: a study showing how gold clusters can be used to stabilize the platinum electrocatalysts used in fuel cells; the investigation of the role of titanium in hydrogen storage; and the characterization of the surfaces of carbon nanotube fuel cell catalysts.
“Historically, the beamline facilities have been under-utilized by the catalysis and electrocatalysis communities,” said University of Delaware chemical engineering professor Jingguang Chen, who is also a principal investigator for the consortium. “The mission of the SCC is to provide assistance and develop techniques to promote the utilization of synchrotron capabilities for these communities.”
ARTICLE BY: Kendra Snyder