Proposal Number: CTS-0121619 Principal Investigator: Harold Kung Institution: Northwestern University
The objective of this proposal is to develop a collaborative effort with investigators from South Africa to study several model reactions on gold nanoparticles. This research area was identified as a prime candidate for the joint investigation at the US-South Africa Workshop on Heterogeneous Catalysis held in Pretoria in June, 2000. The focus of the work is to elucidate the nature of the active sites and the effects of modifiers on these sites. A combination of organogold complexes and gold salts will be used to prepare catalysts containing clusters of controlled distributions of metallic gold atoms and gold ions. The performance of these catalysts in CO oxidation, propene oxidation, and acetylene hydrogenation will be tested and compared with results derived from a model. In-situ methods used to probe active sites include atomic-resolution microscopy, Mossbauer spectroscopy, and synchrotron radiation techniques. To foster collaboration among the seven investigators, the US faculty will invite several South African graduate students to spend one to two years in their laboratories, and US students will visit South Africa to perform research. The results of the research are expected to advance an understanding of the mechanisms of gold catalysis and to further opportunities for new applications of gold in industrial catalysis.