GCN Seminar: Nanocatalysis for Advanced Functional Materials

We are pleased to invite you to a seminar in the Greater Copenhagen Nanoscience (GCN) series with the aim to increase awareness about mutual capabilities of the three nanoscience hubs in the Copenhagen-Lund area and to inspire collaborations. The topic of this Greater-Copenhagen Nanoscience Seminar will be "Nanocatalysis for Advanced Functional Materials". 
There will be three speakers, one from each hub (University of Copenhagen, DTU and NanoLund).

Date: 25 March 2022 from 15:15 to 16:30
Zoom: Please contact Gerda Rentschler gerda.rentschler@ftf.lth.se 

Speakers and preliminary titles

• Sara Blomberg (NanoLund): In situ characterization for development next-generation catalysts 
• Kirsten M. Ø. Jensen (KU): Watching materials form: Elucidation of material formation mechanisms from in situ X-ray studies
• Stig Helveg (DTU): Visualizing chemical processes at the atomic-scale

The format will be 15 + 5 for three speakers and then a general panel discussion.


Watching materials form: Elucidation of material formation mechanisms from in situ X-ray studies
The development of new functional materials relies on our understanding of the relation between structure, properties and synthesis. While the intense focus on ‘materials by design’ have made it possible to predict the properties of many materials given an atomic arrangement, actually knowing how to synthesize it is different story, and material synthesis methods are to a large degree developed by extensive parameter studies based on trial-and-error experiments. As chemists, we are missing knowledge on some of the mechanisms at play when materials form for rational development of synthesis methods. In this context, in situ X-ray scattering and spectroscopy methods can help elucidate new pathways for material formation. We use especially time-resolved X-ray total scattering, as this technique gives new possibilities for following structural changes in a synthesis, all the way from a solution over amorphous intermediates to crystalline materials. Here, I will show examples of materials formation mechanisms deduced from X-ray scattering experiments, and illustrate how we can use the information for synthesis of catalyst materials.

Visualizing chemical processes  at the atomic-scale
Electron microscopy has progressed extraordinarly for visualizing catalytic nanomaterials at the atomic-scale. Advances in electron optics and detection have made atomic-resolution electron microscopy capable of resolving the three-dimensional surface structure of the nanomaterials. Introduction of differentially pumped electron microscopes and micro-electro-mechanical-system devices has enabled in situ observations of the nanomaterials immersed in reactive gas and liquid environments as well as operando studies by concurrent measurements of catalytic functionality. These developments builds a foundation for new insights into the rates and mechanisms of surface chemical reactions and, in turn, for addressing catalysis of chemical reactions by nanomaterials. In this contribution, I will outline recent electron microscopy advances of atomic-scale visualizations for exploring the dynamic and functional behavior of complex catalytic nanomaterials.

In situ characterization for development next-generation catalysts
The world is at a critical point, where the development of the next generation catalysts to upgrade renewable feedstocks is vital for a sustainable future. An increased number of possible candidates for renewable resources has been proposed over the last decades, where lignin is one of the most promising alternatives. Conventional pulp and paper industries generate a large amount of lignin as a byproduct that is mainly used as low-quality fuel but can be converted to value-added chemicals or biofuel by the use of heterogeneous catalysis. Today, there are no commercial catalysts available for the conversion of biomass, and catalysts used in industry are optimized for fossil-based feedstocks. To further develop catalytic materials that enable efficient and environmentally friendly chemical processes, it is necessary to understand the functional mechanisms of these materials in detail. By the use of synchrotron-based X-ray spectroscopy, the catalysts can be probed by high temporal and spatial resolution, which allows for dynamic experiments where the transient phases of the catalysts can be followed in situ. However, achieving information on an atomistic level of industrial catalysts is challenging and we have therefore designed simplified model systems that are studied in parallel with studies of industrial systems. This approach is used in an attempt to bridge the gap between industry and fundamental science and will enable us to tailor the properties of the next generation of catalysts to exhibit maximum efficiency and selectivity in the valorization of renewable feedstocks.

Speaker information

Kirsten M. Ø. Jensen is an associate professor at Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen and a co-PI in Center for High Entropy Alloy Catalysis. The work in her group focuses on elucidating the structure of (nano)materials, using especially synchrotron X-ray methods.

Stig Helveg is Director of the Danish National Research Foundation’s Center for Visualizing Catalytic Processes (VISION) and Professor at the Technical University of Denmark. His research focuses on developing and applying electron microscopy for in situ and operando studies of catalysts under relevant reaction conditions and at the atomic-level.

Sara Blomberg is an assistant professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering at Lund University, Sweden. Her research is focused on catalytic processes where she is using in situ and operando X-ray techniques to study the interaction between the catalyst and the reactants. She is designing and studying model systems as well as industrial catalysts and has a particular interest in catalytic processes related to the production of renewables and the conversion of biomass.