Highly active nanocatalysts by ion beam surface modification
Ongoing progress in many technological applications requires the engineering of functional solid materials with well-controlled chemical, physical, and morphological characteristics. One promising an innovative method to induce tailored interfaces modification of state-of the-art materials is represented by gas phase ion bombardment. The object of the proposed PhD research project is to demonstrate the feasibility of this technique as effective method for the controlled surface modification of aftertreatment catalysts implied in the emissions control from vehicles equipped with internal combustion engines. In particular, incoming automotive emission regulations for Nitrogen oxide (NOx), unburned hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions, as well as the development of new combustion systems employing homogeneous type strategies (Homogeneous charge compression ignition HCCI) or Low Temperature Combustion (LTC), require the optimization and the design of oxidation catalysts active at low temperature. The aim of the proposed research is to develop innovative catalysts with improved dispersion of the metallic phase (metal nanoparticles), enhanced stability and resistance to aging, and to obtain a significant reduction of their operating temperature. Moreover the higher efficiency of the catalytic converter will enable the decrement of the noble metal loading and introduce new formulations based on different metals with the reduction of the cost of the after treatment device.
A multidisciplinary methodology with the quantitative combination of operando FT-IR spectroscopy and on-line gas analysis (i.e. a spectrokinetic approach) will be applied in this study enabling the simultaneous collection of kinetic and spectroscopic data of the adsorbed and gas-phase species under real conditions. The accomplishment of the project objectives will markedly improve the knowledge of aftertreatment systems with a strong impact on the design of the catalyst and on the acceleration of the technology development.
Applications are invited for full-time PhD studentships in the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Queen’s University Belfast, for 2016 entry.
The studentships are for 3 years (DEL) of full-time research. They provide a maintenance grant (currently £13,863 per annum) and tuition fees at the home rate.