Institute of Catalysis Research and Technology (IKFT)

Nanoparticulate materials for catalytic processes

Nanoparticulate hydrogenation catalyst prepared via thermolysis of a molecular [Pd8(CO)8(PMe3)7] cluster in mesoporous MCM-41
Ferrofluid on the basis of Co nanoparticles

Nanomaterials reveal novel physico-chemical properties of electronic, magnetic or catalytic nature and thus offer interesting perspectives for new applications. Heterogeneous catalysis, e.g., is among the oldest commercial applications of nanoscience. Metal particles finely dispersed on supports represent widely used, industrial catalysts. Yet, these particles usually show broad size distributions, irregular morphologies and, hence, multiple active sites with different catalytic performances. The employment of well-defined nanoparticles and nanoparticle assemblies as model systems provides an interesting approach towards a more fundamental understanding of the impact of material characteristics on catalytic performance and, thus, for a future more rational catalyst design. The development of high-quality nanoparticulate materials requires a large repertoire of chemical or template-assisted synthetic methods. Despite the recent synthetic and technological progress in the development of nanostructured materials, many problems aren’t solved yet and the underlying mechanisms of nucleation and growth processes aren’t sufficiently understood.

Our studies aim at

  • the development of efficient methods for the synthesis of nanomaterials optimized with respect to structure and function (colloidal chemistry / liquid-phase synthesis, organometallic and template-assisted synthetic methods (including biological templates), integration of nanoparticles into functional hybrid or composite materials),
  • the structural characterization (e.g., by electron microscopy (SEM / TEM), scanning force microscopy, UV vis spectroscopy , dynamic light scattering (DLS), powder X-ray diffraction (XRD))
  • basic experimental investigations for future technical applications in the area of catalytic processes (e.g., syngas chemistry, hydrogenation) and magnetic hybrid materials (magnetic fluids, magnetic composite materials).