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Discovering new Catalysts in the Cluster-Nanoparticle Transition Regime

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CLUNATRA (Discovering new Catalysts in the Cluster-Nanoparticle Transition Regime)

Reporting period: 2019-03-01 to 2020-08-31

Clunatra is designed to finding new catalytic activities for particles of metal-oxides, -sulfides, -nitrides, or phosphides, in the transition regime where the size goes from clusters with countable number of atoms to nanoparticles. That is a region where the activity may depend critically of adding or subtracting a single atom. This region is uncharted mainly because it is difficult to manufacture well-defined particles in this regime. We have designed and build a cluster source together with an analysis apparatus that allows us to produce such mass-selected particles and subsequent test them for the catalytic activity. This allows for a search for new catalysts with high activity and selectivity which are of in general interest for the chemical industry, which constitute a pivotal role for our society. The specific goals for this project is aiming at delivering solutions for a future fossil free energy system by finding new processes and catalysts for conversion of sustainable energy in the form of electricity into chemical energy. In such a fossil free scenario, we would have to produce hydrogen by water splitting and subsequent use this for hydrogenation of CO2 and N2 into the chemicals we need, and the fuels for areas that cannot be electrified. In these processes new and more efficient catalysts are mandatory.
The main results obtained so far is that we have gotten the mandatory cluster source installed and operational. The first primary results have been obtained although not yet finished to the publishing stage. We have reviewed the field and published two significant publications in that direction.
We cannot claim to have made beyond-state-of-the art publication yet but expect this to happen in near future. It has to be considered that the project suffered a 10 months delay as we encountered significant trouble in having the cluster source meeting the predefined specifications. This has delayed initialization of the entire project but we expect to compensate for that by extending the project by 10 moths although with the same funding.