Converting Nanoparticles into Functional Materials

P. Bishop
Johnson Matthey Technology Centre,
United Kingdom

Keywords: nanoparticles, sustainable catalysts, energy conversion


Translating materials into scalable products requires a concerted approach involving all concerned parties from laboratory scale to manufacture. This presentation will highlight specific materials Johnson Matthey are utilizing for both sustainable catalysts or energy conversion materials. In general, the process needs to be cost effective and speedy with the aim of getting materials first to the market. Specifically, translation of functionalised powders to catalyst arrays or high added value surfaces will be discussed with three case studies involving metal clusters into functional catalysts, a toxic metal free catalyst for vinyl chloride monomer production and converting solution synthesised nanoparticles in functional metal films for electronic applications. All examples start with a single component and functionality added via chemical or physical manipulation. Key steps and views on effective translation will be given throughout the presentation. In collaboration with the Universities of Birmingham1 and Swansea, Johnson Matthey has been involved in a potential and attractive method for preparing model catalyst particles via metal to metal transformations. After mass filtering, generated beams of atomic clusters in the gas phase and their following deposition (in vacuum) onto appropriate catalyst supports give rise to a range of catalyst compositions. The nanocluster beam method has several benefits compared with the colloidal process to producing preformed catalytic nanoparticles: the clusters created in the beam have no ligands, their size can be chosen to arbitrarily high precision by a mass filter and metal particles consisting of challenging compositions of metals can be easily produced. Low rates of metal particle production of the order of 1 microgram per hour, has held back the cluster method. This is a few orders of magnitude below what is preferable for detailed catalytic studies therefore the development of new generations of cluster beam sources which promise yields of grams per hour is discussed. Around 40 million tonnes of vinyl chloride monomer is produced globally. A significant portion located in China is prepared by hydro-chlorination of acetylene using mercuric chloride as the catalyst. Work at Cardiff University identified gold as a strong catalyst to carry out this transformation2. This has led to attempts to commercialise the gold catalyst, key steps along the way will be highlighted, such as production viable scale-up routes for the gold carbon supported catalyst. Conversion of waste heat to power using thermoelectric devices is predicted to play a key role for strategies to reduce carbon emission for automotive or stationary applications. Thermoelectric properties such as (ZT) are not sufficiently high for viable devices. To enhance (ZT) work has centred on embedded Co3O4 nanoparticles engineered into a SiGe lattice3. Methods on how best to fabricate these in viable devices are discussed. 1. Peter R. Ellis, Christopher M. Brown, Peter T. Bishop, Jin long Yin, Kevin Cooke, William D. Terry, Jian Liu, Feng Yin and Richard E. Palmer* Faraday Discuss., 2016, 188, 39. 2. Peter Johnston, Nicholas Carthey, and Graham. J. Hutchings, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2015, 137 (46), pp 14548–14557. 3. L. Lari, C.J. Nuttall, M.P. Copley, R.J. Potter J. Simon, N. Mingo, and D. Ozkaya, Journal of Physics: Conference Series 522 (2014) 01204