In Fall 2018, I supervised EuroScholars student, Mareena Franke from Coe College. Mareena participated in my research project “Catalytic Surface Science”.
During her research at Leiden University, Mareena studied the oxygen (O2), interacts with a silver-based catalyst. The outcomes of this research resulted in a joint publication “Laan, Petrus CM, et al. "Heterogeneous Catalytic Oxidation of Ammonia by Various Transition Metals." Journal of chemical education 96.10 (2019): 2266-2270.
Following my experience with the EuroScholars Program and with Mareena, I obtained the EuroScholars Travel Grant and travelled from Leiden to Chicago in October 2019 for 2 weeks. During those 2 weeks I visited Loyola University and the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC).
At Loyola University I visited the laboratory of dr. Dan Killelea. With his PhD student, Ms. Marie Turano, I discussed and initiated scientific research as outlined in the proposal. Direct measurements of ammonia (NH3) adsorption to catalytically relevant surfaces turned out not to opportune, and we have switched to resolving how the other reactant from the demonstration experiment that Mareena had studied in Leiden, i.e. oxygen (O2), interacts with a silver-based catalyst.
The outcomes of this visit and collaboration with Ms. Marie Turano, resulted in 2 joint publications:
- Turano, Marie E., et al. "Structural inhibition of silver surface oxidation." The Journal of Physical Chemistry C 125.27 (2021): 14702-14708.
- Turano, Marie E., et al. "Oxygen-induced surface reconstructions on curved Ag (111)." Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces, and Films 39.5 (2021): 053201.
My visit at the Killelea Lab at Loyola University Chicago. On this picture you can see the unltra-high vacuum device in which a low-temperature Scanning Tunneling Microscope is incorporated. This enabled us to unravel the mechanism of silver oxidation by following the oxidation of the silver surface with atomic resolution.
At the University of Illinois Chicago, I gave a lecture. With Mrs. Ginevra Clark, I discussed and prepared our collaborative research on converting the demonstration that Mareena had worked on in Leiden into a laboratory experiment for BSc students of UIC. We tested the laboratory experiment with 5 groups of students (each group between 10 and 16 students), which was repeated a year later. Conclusion on the efficacy of this lab experiment on student understanding of periodic trends in catalytic activity will be primarily based on the analysis of lab reports from these students. Observations during the labs already suggested some changes to improve student materials. The lab report analysis is pending as the IRB (UCI) and ethical committee (Leiden) are in the process of accepting this collaborative educational research.