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Catalytic surface science

Leiden University

1 or 2 semesters

Many heterogeneously catalyzed reactions occur at the interface of metal particles and a gas phase containing reactants and products. We investigate the fundamental principles governing the adsorption, reaction and desorption of atoms and molecules at such metal surfaces using surface science and supersonic molecular beam techniques.

Project description

The EuroScholars student will contribute to ongoing research investigating chemical reactivity or selectivity at (model) heterogeneous catalysts.

Depending on the exact project, the student will learn to use, e.g., ultra-high vacuum systems, how to clean and use macroscopic single crystals as model catalysts in catalytic surface science research, and a large range of surface science, supersonic molecular beam, and laser excitation techniques. Depending on the time of arrival, the student may work on adsorption and reactions of water, oxygen and hydrogen on platinum or copper single crystal surfaces, CO2 dissociation on nickel, cobalt or copper, or other topics that catch our interest. We also perform experiments on demonstrations of heterogeneous catalysis, unravelling the background of them, which is often only speculated upon in the literature. The student learns to apply techniques, e.g. reflection absorption infrared spectroscopy (RAIRS), quadrupole mass spectrometry, temperature programmed desorption/reaction (TPD/TPR), low energy electron diffraction (LEED), or supersonic molecular beam techniques. We use flat, but also world-wide unique curved single crystals to investigate differences in reactivity resulting from a variation of surface structure.

The project is available in the Fall and Spring semester and is also open for recently graduated undergraduate students and for graduate students.

Number of places available: 2 per semester.

Pre requisites

  • Sophmore level chemistry or physics with strong interest in physical chemistry and/or heterogeneous catalysis.

Faculty Department

Faculty of Science / Leiden Insitute of Chemistry.

The  Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC) is organized around two major research areas:

  • Chemical Biology
  • Energy & Sustainability

Our research group contributes to the latter. In the area Energy & Sustainability research is focused on chemical reactions of importance to the sustainable and efficient production and storage of energy. Please check our website for information on our research activities relating to catalysis and surface science.

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