Designing Multifunctional Nanoparticles for Sustainable Catalysis

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: School of Chemistry


The project will focus on the design of catalytically active NPs and developing wider synthetic strategies to control the size, morphology and shape of the particles at the atomic and molecular level. The project will further seek to evaluate the selective conversion of the industrial feedstock, KA oil, to cyclohexanone with a view to achieving high yields using continuous-flow chemistry by utilizing the designed metal nanoparticle catalysts. Identifying the intrinsic environment of the active site and developing strategies to control their coordination geometry at the molecular level, will facilitate structure-property correlations to be established. It is envisaged that probing the origins of the catalytic synergy between multifunctional active centres in porous solids would facilitate an in-depth understanding of mechanistic pathways at a molecular level, thus enabling rational design with intrinsic control on site-isolation for enhanced catalytic turnovers.

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R512187/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021
1947166 Studentship EP/R512187/1 28/09/2017 30/09/2021 Panashe Mhembere
Description Nanoparticle catalysts supported on chloropyrophosphate (CuClP) crystal frameworks can be generated using in situ extrusion methodology which allows for the streamling of the nanoparticle synthesis. Previously known catalysts catalysts such as the Au/CuClP and Pt/CuClP have demontrated activity in the oxidation of KA oil to form cyclohexanone; a useful step in the synthesis of Nylon-6. Combination of the main advantages of these individual monometallic catalysts, namely high activity and stability of the Pt and Au catalysts respectively, has been attempted with a view to the generation of highly active, stable nanoparticle catalysts. It has been confirmed that the successful synthesis of bimetallic AuPt nanoparticles by in situ extrusion can be exploited to improve the stability of the resulting nanoparticles over a wider range of conditions.
From a structural perspective, it is noted that the generation of active, stable nanoparticles is only possible when nanoparicles are generated by extrusion. Thereby demonstrating the potency of the CuClP system as a catalyst support framework in the generation of highly active bimetallic nanoparticles.
Exploitation Route A manuscirpt detailing the level of success we have met in generating bimetallic NPs using extrusion has been prepared and undergoing final review by co-authors before being submitted in a high-impact peer-reviewed journal.
Sectors Chemicals,Energy

Description Travel Bursary
Amount £500 (GBP)
Organisation British Zeolite Association 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2019 
End 08/2019
Description "Diamonds" Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Invited to present my research during a short "Diamonds" seminar at Diamond Light Source. The presentation garnered particular interest in the approch by which we were able to characterise AuPt alloyed nanoparticles using diffuse reflectance ultraviolet/visible (DRUV-Vis) spectroscopy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019