- Siris Laursen, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Expanding the catalytic materials set for the heterogeneous catalysis community is vital to address the need to achieve new chemical transformations as chemical feedstocks change over time. Isolating replacements for expensive noble metal catalysts is also an ongoing aim of the field. Non-noble metal intermetallic compounds (IMCs), which are compositionally ordered solid compounds of transition metals mixed with semimetals or post-transition metals, are promising and relatively new catalytic materials that may satisfy the needs of the catalysis community. Due to the inordinately large compositional space provided by IMCs, these materials present significant tunability with respect to their surface and catalytic chemistry. Certain subspaces of IMC compositions are also exceedingly stable as evidenced by their high melting points, even in nanoparticle form. However, fairly significant challenges are presented in their synthesis as supported high surface area nanoparticles due to the elevated reactivity of the constituent elements, most notably, the reactivity of the p-block element. IMC surface and catalytic chemistry is also not well understood outside of a few materials that have recently been discovered as promising catalysts. Most of the community’s understanding of these materials comes from noble metal IMC surface science studies. The speaker will discuss recent advancements in the synthesis of these materials as phase pure nanoparticles with controlled or bulk-like surface composition. Computational and experimental studies of IMC surface and catalytic chemistry will also be discussed in the context of reactions such as propane dehydrogenation, hydrocarbon wet and dry reforming, and selective hydrogenation reactions.