In an attempt to understand why ruthenium sulfide (RuS2) is so good at removing sulfur impurities from fuels, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energys Brookhaven National Laboratory have succeeded in making a model of this catalyst -- nanoparticles supported on an inert surface -- which can be studied under laboratory conditions. "If we can understand why this catalyst is so active, we might be able to make it even better, or use what we learn to design other highly efficient catalysts," said Tanhong Cai, one of the scientists who made the model.
Removing sulfur from fossil fuels such as oil and coal is mandated because the resulting fuels burn more cleanly and efficiently. One common way of achieving this is to add hydrogen in the presence of a catalyst to release hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Recently, RuS2 was found to be 100 times more active than the catalyst most commonly used for this "hydrodesulfurization" reaction. But studying the catalyst in action is nearly impossible because the reaction takes place at high temperatures and under extreme pressure.
The Brookhaven team has therefore created a model of the catalyst via a chemical reaction that deposits nanosized particles of RuS2 on a nonreactive gold surface. The small size of the particles maximizes the surface area available for the catalytic reaction to take place, and makes it ideal for analysis by classic surface chemistry techniques, such as scanning tunneling microscopy and x-ray photoemission spectroscopy. The entire model is being studied under well-defined ultrahigh vacuum conditions.
Karen McNulty Walsh | EurekAlert!
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In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
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A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
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In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
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The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
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