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Technical Paper

Catalysis by Design - Theoretical and Experimental Studies of Model Catalysts

The development of new catalytic materials is still dominated by trial and error methods, even though the experimental and theoretical bases for their characterization have improved dramatically in recent years. Although it has been successful, the empirical development of catalytic materials is time consuming and expensive with no guarantee of success. We have been exploring computationally complex but experimentally simple systems to establish a “catalysis by design” protocol that combines the power of theory and experiment. We hope to translate the fundamental insights directly into a complete catalyst system that is technologically relevant. The essential component of this approach is that the catalysts are iteratively examined by both theoretical and experimental methods.
Journal Article

Bridging the Gap between Theory and Experiments - Nano-structural Changes in Supported Catalysts under Operating Conditions

Computational approaches have been limited to examining catalytic processes using models that have been greatly simplified in comparison to real catalysts. Experimental studies, especially on emission treatment catalysts, have primarily focused on fully formulated systems. Thus, there remains a knowledge gap between theory and experiments. We combine the power of theory and experiment for atomistic design of catalytically active sites that can translate the fundamental insights gained directly to a catalyst system suitable for technical deployment. In this article, we describe our results on a model platinum-alumina catalyst that is a common constituent of emission treatment catalysts such as three-way, NOx trap, oxidation, and HC-SCR catalysts. We present theoretical and experimental studies of the oxidation and reactivity of Pt catalyst clusters towards O, CO, and NOx.