Our current research programmes are in the following areas:
Our approaches include the development and application of Angstrom scale (0.1 nm) dynamic aberration-corrected transmission electron microscopy (Fig.1) and related analytical spectroscopy tools at the York JEOL Nanocentre to probe dynamic catalysis at the atomic level, in real-time, under controlled conditions of temperature and environment, related to the real world. This capability allows us to follow dynamic changes in nanocatalysts to elucidate reaction mechanisms, explore transient states under reaction conditions and to control changes in catalyst stability leading to active nanostructures/sites. The data are correlated with activity easurements to understand structure-property relationships. This information is crucial for the development of advanced catalysts and green processes. These methods are also used in the design and synthesis of new nanomaterials, especially nanoparticle composites, their structure and properties.
Collaborators: Professor E D Boyes, Dr K Yoshida, Professor N Tanaka, Professor J R Weertman et al. and with UK Chemical Industry.
Fig. 1: Centre: JEOL 2200 FS TEM/STEM with dual aberration correctors at the York JEOL Nanocentre, University of York.
LHS: Silicon <110> atom columns with 0.136 spacing.
Bottom: Atomic scale image of gold nanocatalyst particle with (111) surface steps. The (111) lattice spacings of 0.23 nm are clearly revealed.
(P L Gai and E D Boyes, Microscopy Research and Technique, 2009, 73, 153; and Journal of Physics, (IOP) 2010, 241, 012055).
Fig.2: Atomic scale active species in tungstated zirconia nanocatalyst for NSAIDS (Catalysis Sc. And Technology (RSC); 2011; DOI: 10.1039/c0cy00063a)