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NANO2 — Result In Brief

Project ID: 505670
Funded under: FP6-NMP
Country: Germany

Controlling industrially relevant oxidation processes

Oxidation plays a role in many industrially important processes. EU-funded researchers made significant advances in understanding oxidation of nanomaterials at operational pressures that could boost European competitiveness in the emerging nanotechnology sector.
Controlling industrially relevant oxidation processes
Many important processes involve oxidation reactions – from the oxidation of glucose in cells to provide energy to catalytic oxidation processes for fuel cells. With the advent of nanotechnology, a need has arisen to understand and control oxidation processes on the nanoscale under environmentally relevant conditions to enhance the functioning and stability of nanomaterials.

Supported by EU-funding, researchers of the ‘Oxidation of nanomaterials’ (NANO2) project sought to evaluate oxidation of crystalline structures and the substrates on which they are grown. The objective was to thus fill the gap between single crystalline surface oxidation studies of near ultra high vacuum (UHV) conditions (about 1 billionth of atmospheric pressure) and ambient pressure (so-called atmospheric pressure) oxidation of nanoparticles.

In fact, the NANO2 project team did successfully bridge the gap for a number of materials and crystalline surface structures already applied or having the potential to be applied industrially. They also made important observations regarding so-called sub-surface oxygen, atomic oxygen located directly beneath the uppermost metal crystal layer.

Among the many ‘firsts’, the researchers conducted Monte Carlo simulations of carbon monoxide (CO) oxidation reactions enabling the first predicted reaction rates on single crystal surfaces. Furthermore, they identified a novel surface oxide formed during CO oxidation on a platinum (110) single crystal and conducted the first structural in situ investigation of a specific metal alloy single crystal during a chemical reaction.

NANO2 contributed significantly to understanding of chemical reactions on nanomaterials with 50 publications already accepted and a total of nearly 100 expected. Ability to control oxidation under operational pressure conditions has the potential to enhance performance of catalysts used in fuel cells, chemical synthesis and automotive or environmental sensor applications to name only a few. Eventual industrial application of NANO2 results could have an important impact on European competitiveness in the booming nanotechnology sector.

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