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Catalysis is one of the cornerstones of our modern society, and 90% of the objects around us have been prepared using at least one catalytic step during their manufacture. Heterogeneous catalysis is based on materials that can speed up reactions that would be otherwise very slow without being changed during the catalytic cycle. Since heterogeneous catalysis occurs on the surface of these materials, small nanocrystals are ideal because they show a high surface-to-volume ratio.


Our group studies the preparation, characterization and testing of nanocrystals of several classes (including, but not limited to metals, metal oxides, metal sulfides) for reactions relevant to energy and environment such as CO and CH4 oxidation, CO2hydrogenation, water-gas shift-reaction. Reactions where light (photocatalysis) or electricity (electrocatalysis) are involved are also studied in our group, such as photoreforming of alcohols for hydrogen production, oxygen reduction reaction, oxygen evolution reaction


Because of the uniformity of the nanocrystals and building blocks that we prepare, our systems are especially suited for fundamental studies on understanding of working catalysts under realistic environments. Understanding the role of specific sites (corners, edges, perimeter sites) for catalytic reactions is the first step for preparing materials with improved catalytic properties such as activity, stability and selectivity.


Figures from:

“Control of Metal Nanocrystal Size Reveals Metal-Support Interface Role for Ceria Catalysts”, Matteo Cargnello, Vicky V. T. Doan-Nguyen, Thomas R. Gordon, Rosa E. Diaz, Eric A. Stach, Raymond J. Gorte, Paolo Fornasiero, Christopher B. Murray, Science 2013341, 771-773.

“Engineering Catalytic Contacts and Thermal Stability: Gold/Iron Oxide Binary Nanocrystal Superlattices for CO Oxidation”, Yijin Kang, Xingchen Ye, Jun Chen, Liang Qi, Rosa E. Diaz, Vicky Doan-Nguyen, Guozhong Xing, Cherie R. Kagan, Ju Li, Raymond J. Gorte, Eric A. Stach, Christopher B. Murray, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013135, 1499-1505.

“Nonaqueous Synthesis of TiO2 Nanocrystals Using TiF4 to Engineer Morphology, Oxygen Vacancy Concentration, and Photocatalytic Activity”, Thomas R. Gordon, Matteo Cargnello, Taejong Paik, Filippo Mangolini, Ralph T. Weber, Paolo Fornasiero, Christopher B. Murray, J. Am. Chem. Soc.2012134, 6751-6761.