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Final Report Summary - NANOTUNE (Sustainable routes to shaped nanoparticles for selective catalysis)

Research on nanocatalysis is currently an area of intense activity since the reduction in the dimensions of an active material provides new catalytic behaviours that are not scalable from bulk-like properties. This phenomenon is predominantly a consequence of the resulting quantisation of electrons upon their confinement to nanoscale dimensions. A major target of nanocatalysis is the promotion, enhancement and control of chemical reactions by controlling the size, dimensionality, chemical composition and morphology of the reaction centre. The uniformity and stability of the nanomaterials is also of crucial importance, ensuring that the catalytic reagents all encounter equivalent environments during the course of the reaction.
The tuning of the surface electronic properties of the metal can have a dramatic effect in the adsorption/desorption properties of substrates, and hence on the overall selectivity of the transformation. In addition, the use of metallic particles that are asymmetric in nature change the surface structure that is presented to the substrate during a catalytic reaction. It is widely known that different crystallographic planes interact in different manners to substrates, therefore this control in particle morphology will be exploited in order to tune the ideal surface to maximise catalytic efficiency and effectiveness.
NANOTUNE is a Marie Curie project aiming to design and subsequently control the size, shape and composition of nanoparticles for catalytic applications. The main objectives of the project are:
• To make nanoparticles with controlled electronic and structural properties
• To make catalysts containing these nanoparticles
• To characterise the catalysts in detail, using advanced characterisation techniques
• To understand how the properties of the nanoparticles affect catalytic selectivity, and so prepare improved catalysts
The materials prepared were centred on using palladium as the active metal, since palladium is an active catalyst in a wide range of catalytic reactions. In this project, the catalysts have been applied in two industrial relevant reactions: direct hydrogen peroxide synthesis from H2 and O2, and selective hydrogenation of chloronitrobenzene.

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