Proposal Number: CTS-0103135 Principal Investigator:Harry Ploehn Institution: University of South Carolina
This proposal was submitted in response to the solicitation "Nanoscale Science and Engineering" (NSF 00-119). The objective of this proposal is to design dendrimer-stabilized nanoparticles of transition metals, bimetallic alloys, and transition metal oxides for use in heterogeneous catalysis. Dendrimers, used as chemical templates and nanoparticle stabilizers, provide an opportunity for precise control of the size, composition, and arrangement of atoms in catalytic nanoparticles, as well as a means for self-assembly and immobilization of nanoparticles in ordered two-dimensional and three-dimensional arrays on surfaces. Catalyst activity, selectivity, and lifetime will be improved by exploiting phenomena unique to catalytic structures designed and fabricated on the nanoscale. Research and educational activities include theoretical design, molecular modeling, nanoparticle synthesis, catalyst preparation and evaluation. Through this multidisciplinary activity, an overall goal is to design the next generation of catalysts based on a rational atom-up approach. Additional support will be provided to students through the three NSF-REU sites and through Sloan Foundation Fellowships, aimed at increasing minority participation. This work has the potential to improve the rational design of catalysts through molecular modeling and synthesis of nanoparticles.