Nav: Home

ERC grant: Getting nanoparticle catalysts into shape

December 14, 2016

Prof Dr Beatriz Roldán Cuenya from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) will receive one of the renowned Consolidator Grants from the European Research Council (ERC). The funding totals two million euros for five years. The scientist aims to use the money to gain new insights into the catalytic abilities of nanoparticles, particularly how the size, shape and chemical state of the particles change during a catalytic reaction.

Tiny metal particles, just 1 to 50 nanometres large, can be used as catalysts for various reactions. Numerous parameters influence the catalytic activity of the nanoparticles: their size and shape, the support material to which the particles are bound, the environment, and the chemical state of the particles, i.e., for instance, whether they are present as a pure metal or as an oxide.

Catalysts for CO2 recycling

Little is currently understood about the role of particle shape; what's more, the aforementioned parameters can also influence each other. Beatriz Roldán Cuenya would like to understand in detail how the geometric and electronic properties of the nanoparticles determine their catalytic activity. This would make possible to specifically design catalysts with the best possible efficiency.

The research in Bochum as part of the ERC grant focuses on catalysts for two chemical reactions that convert carbon dioxide into useful substances. In doing so, the scientists use the same nanoparticle catalysts for two very different kinds of reaction: the first takes place in the gas phase under high pressure (reduction of carbon dioxide with hydrogen), the second in the liquid phase under potential control (electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide). The aim is to increase the efficiency of these reactions, for instance by reducing the amount of unwanted by-products.

"The results are intended to open up new ways of directly converting the climate gas CO2 into valuable chemicals and fuels, for instance methanol, ethanol, propanol, methane or ethylene," says Chair Professor of solid state physics Roldán Cuenya, who is also a member of the cluster of excellence Resolv.

About the person

Beatriz Roldán Cuenya studied physics at the University of Oviedo, Spain. In 2001, she completed her doctoral thesis in the field of solid-state physics at the University of Duisburg-Essen. She then worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California in Santa Barbara and became an Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida (Orlando) in 2004, where she became Full Professor in 2012. Beatriz Roldán Cuenya has held the chair for solid-state physics at RUB since 2013 and is a member of the cluster of excellence Ruhr Explores Solvation (Resolv).

Two Consolidator Grants for RUB researchers

Prof Beatriz Roldán Cuenya's grant is one of two ERC Consolidator grants that RUB researchers have been awarded in the current application round. The second grant goes to Prof Dr Carmen Meinert from the Center for Religious Studies. More information will follow in a separate press release.
-end-
Clicked on

Cluster of excellence Resolv

Press release by the ERC about the awarded grants

ERC Consolidator Grants

Ruhr-University Bochum

Related Nanoparticles Articles:

Study models new method to accelerate nanoparticles
In a new study, researchers at the University of Illinois and the Missouri University of Science and Technology modeled a method to manipulate nanoparticles as an alternative mode of propulsion for tiny spacecraft that require very small levels of thrust.
Actively swimming gold nanoparticles
Bacteria can actively move towards a nutrient source -- a phenomenon known as chemotaxis -- and they can move collectively in a process known as swarming.
Nanoparticles take a fantastic, magnetic voyage
MIT engineers have designed tiny robots that can help drug-delivery nanoparticles push their way out of the bloodstream and into a tumor or another disease site.
Quantum optical cooling of nanoparticles
One important requirement to see quantum effects is to remove all thermal energy from the particle motion, i.e. to cool it as close as possible to absolute zero temperature.
Nanoparticles help realize 'spintronic' devices
For the first time researchers have demonstrated a new way to perform functions essential to future computation three orders of magnitude faster than current commercial devices.
Directed evolution builds nanoparticles
Directed evolution is a powerful technique for engineering proteins. EPFL scientists now show that it can also be used to engineer synthetic nanoparticles as optical biosensors, which are used widely in biology, drug development, and even medical diagnostics such as real-time monitoring of glucose.
What happens to magnetic nanoparticles once in cells?
Although magnetic nanoparticles are being used more and more in cell imaging and tissue bioengineering, what happens to them within stem cells in the long term remained undocumented.
Watching nanoparticles
Stanford researchers retooled an electron microscope to work with visible light and gas flow, making it possible to watch a photochemical reaction as it swept across a nanoparticle the size of a single cold virus.
Nanoparticles to treat snakebites
Venomous snakebites affect 2.5 million people, and annually cause more than 100,000 deaths and leave 400,000 individuals with permanent physical and psychological trauma each year.
Nanoparticles in our environment may have more harmful effects than we think
Researchers warn that a combination of nanoparticles and contaminants may form a cocktail that is harmful to our cells.
More Nanoparticles News and Nanoparticles Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.