Energy profile

This project addresses the problems of low electrocatalytic activities and CO poisoning by surface modification (e.g., a sequential deposition of Ru on the principal Pt cluster) of bimetallic nanocatalysts, catalyst support, and by first-principles theoretical examinations of the mechanism of electrocatalytic oxidation of methanol and poisoning CO on the bimetallic nanocatalysts. Because of the fundamental role surface electronic processes play, heterogeneous catalytic activity is determined primarily by the surface morphology and composition of the nanoparticle catalyst. The structure and composition of a few atomic layers below the surface play a secondary role, while the bulk of the catalyst remains a spectator of the catalytic activity. Consequently, research towards the improvement of existing catalysts and the design of new ones focuses on three aspects: tailoring of the surface structure, adequate catalyst support, and minimizing the mass of the catalytically inert material. In order to understand the synergism of heterometallic catalysts, it is necessary to elucidate their electronic structure and surface dynamic processes, ultimately leading to tailored catalysts. A new collaboration between Zimbovskaya and the Institute of Nanoelectronics (Purdue) has been established through this project. This project is currently supported through NASA URC Grant NCC3-1034 and DOE Grant DE-FG02-01ER45868.