The goal of this research program is to characterize nanoporous alloys formed by the dealloying of electrodeposited ternary and quaternary alloys. Assistant Professor of Physics Jennifer Hampton and a team of undergraduate students at Hope College will fabricate complex nanoporous alloy materials using electrochemical deposition and dealloying, characterize the dealloying process for these materials, and measure the catalytic behavior of the resulting structures. Specifically, the work will focus on nickel-based alloys with iron, cobalt, copper, and zinc. By characterizing the chemical composition, morphology, and active surface area of the materials before and after the dealloying step, they will advance the understanding of the dealloying process, extending it to complex multi-component alloys. Measurement of catalytic behavior using two model reactions, hydrogen evolution and methanol oxidation, will uncover the roles played by both composition and morphology on the reactivity of these nanoporous alloy materials. This work is funded by the Solid State and Materials Chemistry program of the Division of Materials Research.
Nanoporous metal structures have a variety of interesting properties, including low density, high surface area, and enhanced optical and catalytic behavior. Their enhanced reactivity makes them promising materials for catalytic applications. Similarly, metal alloys often have enhanced reactivity towards specific reactions. The focus of this research program is to study nanoporous alloy thin films, combining the characteristics of both porous structures and alloyed materials. Assistant Professor of Physics Jennifer Hampton and a team of undergraduate students at Hope College will fabricate thin film nanoporous alloys using electrochemical methods. They will then screen the resulting samples for catalytic behavior using two model reactions which are important for the nation's energy future- the production of hydrogen gas from water and the oxidation of methanol as a fuel. By doing so, they will advance the understanding of the fabrication processes for these complex multi-component nanostructured materials and will learn how chemical composition and structure contribute to the resulting reactivity. This interdisciplinary research program will involve undergraduate students with interests in physics, chemistry, and materials engineering. They will contribute to an exciting area of research at the boundaries between the different disciplines. This work is funded by the Solid State and Materials Chemistry program of the Division of Materials Research.