Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


A new perspective for understanding the mechanisms of catalytic conversion

The oxidation of toxic carbon monoxide (CO) to carbon dioxide occurs every day in millions of cars. Despite being one of the most studied catalytic processes, the exact mechanism of interaction between the carbon monoxide molecule and the catalyst, often platinum, is not fully understood.

An important step in the reaction is the adsorption of CO on the surface of the catalyst. A team of scientists from the ESRF and the ETH in Zurich (Switzerland) has managed to see how the electrons in the platinum reorganize as the adsorption is taking place and why catalysts are “poisoned”, i.e. why their activity is reduced. It is the first time that this type of experiment is carried out at the same high temperatures and pressures as in a real car exhaust catalyst.

When the CO or other toxic gases get in contact with the catalyst, a noble metal such as platinum, they oxidize to become less dangerous gases. In this case, CO turns to CO2, which the car expels via the exhaust pipe. However, the efficiency of the catalytic conversion decreases considerably when the catalyst is at low temperature. The scientists from the ESRF and ETH in Zurich determined how the CO poisons the surface of the catalyst. The strong bond between CO and the platinum blocks active sites and makes the metal less susceptible to reaction with oxygen, lowering its reactivity.

Scientists around the world have studied thoroughly the electron structure of adsorbed CO using techniques like vibration and soft X-ray spectroscopy, but few have studied the electrons in the platinum, and it has proven extremely difficult to do it on nanoparticles under ambient pressure. In fact, very few experimental techniques are compatible with the required temperature, gas environment, and the low metal concentration of supported nanoparticles.

The team has developed a technique where they can investigate the platinum electrons that take part in the bond with CO. “We have, for the first time, combined a novel experimental and theoretical approach with an important application in catalysis research. This enables us to look at the adsorption of CO on Pt nanoparticles from a new perspective that was previously not accessible” explains Pieter Glatzel, scientist at the ESRF.

The next step is to look at the changes in catalyst structure under actual catalytic conditions, such as those occurring during the preferential oxidation of CO and the water gas shift reaction. “We are very hopeful of this new technique and are sure that it will enable us to improve our knowledge about catalytic systems and, with it, make them better”, says Jeroen van Bokhoven, scientist at the ETH.

Montserrat Capellas | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

New 4-D printer could reshape the world we live in

21.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

21.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>