Nanostructured photo- and electro-catalysts by SOLID STATE METAL DEWETTING
AIM IS TO:
Solid state dewetting of metal thin films is, in simple words, the agglomeration of nm-thick continuous metal films into arrangements of metal particles. Since supported metal particles are key in a variety of technologies and applications (for example heterogeneous catalysis), we explore ‘controlled’ dewetting phenomena to produce supported metal nanoparticles with defined properties as model catalysts.
E. Jiran, C.V. Thompson, J. Electron. Mater. 1990, 19, 1153;
C.V. Thompson, Annu. Rev. Mater. Res. 2012, 42, 399;
Altomare et al., Chem. Sci. 2016, 7, 6865.
We focus on investigating at a fundamental level the mechanisms and dynamics of solid state metal dewetting phenomena, to achieve nanoscale control on size, structure, composition, faceting and other features of dewetted nanoparticles, and investigate such “dewetted” metal catalysts or electrodes for a series of photo- or electro-chemical conversion processes, e.g., water splitting, synthesis of hydrogen peroxide, or upgrade of pyrolysis oil components.
Spanu et al., ACS Catal. 2018, 8, 5298; Nguyen et al., Adv. Mater. 2015, 27, 3208;
C. Gatel, E. Snoeck, Surf. Sci. 2007, 601, 1031; D. Amram, E. Rabkin, ACS Nano 2014, 8, 10, 10687.
Sputtering for deposition of thin metal or metal oxide films; Tube furnaces for thermal treatments and solid state dewetting experiments; Electrochemical cells and power supplies to synthesize porous nanostructured metal oxide layers by electrochemical anodization; Reactors / cells, light sources, potentiostats, and analytical tools to characterize the photo- and electro-catalytic performance of dewetted catalytic materials; Physicochemical characterization of the dewetted catalysts in collaboration with UT partners such as Mesa+ Nanolab, MST, CPM, IMS.
The project has started in January 2021.
Dr. M. Altomare (Marco)