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Content archived on 2024-06-18

Study of uniform supported metal complexes and metal clusters at atomic level for catalytic applications

Final Report Summary - UNIMETCLUST (Study of uniform supported metal complexes and metal clusters at atomic level for catalytic applications)

Catalysts accelerate chemical reactions and are keys in the production of fuels, plastics, pharmaceuticals, and others. Most catalysts are solids incorporating metals as the active sites. To achieve optimum performance, it is necessary to understand how the structure of the sites affects their catalytic properties. The complexity of common industrial catalysts hinders this understanding, because they consist of mixtures of structures whose role cannot be resolved unambiguously.

In contrast, when the active sites are synthesized to be simple and uniform, a solid basis for designing new materials is established. We anchored metals in well-defined structures onto surfaces with variable characteristics. The structure of the metal sites was tuned at a molecular level by treatments in controlled atmospheres, with the changes being precisely determined via state-of-the-art spectroscopy and microscopy. Correlations between the structures and the catalytic performance enabled the design of improved catalysts, some with excellent potential to replace current technological catalysts.
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