Fundamental catalysis - following surface reactions

Given the importance of catalysts as work horses in the refinery, chemical production, and energy conversion processes, there is a high demand to develop new and better ones. A condition for iterative design of better catalysts is a thorough understanding of the mechanism by which the model catalysts function.

We perform research on both the solid/gas interface, relevant to thermal heterogeneous catalysis, and at the solid/liquid interfaces, relevant to electrocatalysis. 

Solid/gas interface

We use ambient pressure photoelectron spectroscopy (APXPS), near edge x-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) spectroscopy, and polarisation modulation infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy (PM-IRRAS), to monitor the changes in the chemical state of the surface as well as the chemical nature, adsorption energies, and adsorption sites of the reactant molecules on the surface.

We are interested in methanol conversion and methanol synthesis reactions on Cu surfaces. This project is awarded the Israel Science Foundation's Individual Research Grants Program in 2018 for 4 years. 

We are also interested in ethylene oxidation on Ag surfaces. This project is awarded the National Science Foundation (NSF) - Binational Science Foundation (BSF) Research Grant in 2019 for 3 years together with Miquel Salmeron from UC Berkeley.

Selected papers:

B. Eren, H. Kersell, R. S. Weatherup, C. Heine, E. J. Crumlin, C. M. Friend, M. Salmeron. Structure of the Clean and Oxygen-Covered Cu(100) Surface in the Presence of Methanol Gas in the 10 to 200 mTorr Pressure Range, J. Phys. Chem. B, 122, (2018), 548-54

B. Eren, C. G. Sole, J. S. Lacasa, D. Grinter, F. Venturini, G. Held, C. S. Esconjauregui, R. S. Weatherup. Identifying the Catalyst Chemical State and Adsorbed Species during Methanol Conversion on Copper using Ambient Pressure X-ray Spectroscopies, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. (2020) doi: 10.1039/D0CP00347F

Solid-Liquid Interface

We are currently developing a PM-IRRAS rig operable at the solid-electrified liquid interface. We also use shell-isolated nanoparticles (SHINs) for Raman spectroscopy. 

We are interested in the electrochemical CO2 reduction on Cu nanoparticles and their size depandence.