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The combined use of spectroscopic and reaction tools to investigate mechanistic aspects of heterogeneous catalysis

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  • Full or part time
    Prof J Anderson
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

The group are involved in understanding the nature of solid surfaces, mainly catalytically active surfaces and in relating knowledge gained through examination of these surfaces with how they perform in catalytic reactions. The reaction of choice are usually those which involve activation of hydrocarbons although we are also interested in NO and CO oxidation and other reactions related to vehicle emission catalysts and to CO hydrogenation for Fischer Tropsch reaction for the manufacture of synthetic fuels. Our approach involves the combined use of spectroscopic and reaction tools to investigate mechanistic aspects of heterogeneous catalysis. We have reactors which permit vibrational spectra to be obtained under conditions of high pressure and temperature and coupling these with analytical instrumentation for assessment of products and reagent conversion proves to be a useful tool in assessing surfaces in reaction. In particular, we are keen to use vibrational spectroscopy in a quantitative manner which then allows quantification of surface species/surface sites to be established. We employ such methodology for solid oxides (and mixed oxides) and supported metals and bimetallics. Understanding of these reactions and the number of participating sites allows us to design and develop modifiers which then permit enhanced selectivity to be attained.

The successful applicant should have, or expect to have, an Honours Degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in chemistry or chemical engineering or MSc in materials or catalysis related subject with knowledge in Surfaces, spectroscopy, materials.

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project, it is for self-funded students only.


Gold modified Cobalt-based Fischer Tropsch catalysts for conversion of synthesis gas to liquid fuels. Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering, 2013, 7, 262-269

n-Alkane Hydroconversion Over Carbided Molybdena Supported on Sulphated Zirconia. Applied Petrochemicals Research, 2012 1, 35–43

Enhanced selectivity in acetylene hydrogenation by diphenyl sulfide modified Pd/TiO2 catalysts. J. Catalysis, 2011, 281, 231–240

Quantitative determination of acid sites on silica alumina catalyst
Applied Catalysis, A., 2010, 390, 127-134.

Application Process:

Formal applications can be completed online: You should apply for PhD in Engineering, to ensure that your application is passed to the correct College for processing. Please ensure that you quote the project title and supervisor on the application form.

Informal inquiries can be made to Professor J Anderson, ([email protected]) with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Graduate School Admissions Unit ([email protected]).

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