This award will support collaborative research in heterogeneous catalysis between Dr. Gary Simmons, Lehigh University and Profs. Ulrik Gelius and Nils Martensson, Physics Institute, University of Uppsala, Sweden. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (ESCA) is a tool of major importance in materials science. Recent developments in this field promise unprecedented advances, as well as precision in the understanding of properties of materials that stem from interfacial phenomena. In this joint project, Dr. Simmons will use ESCA instruments developed in Sweden to study the interaction between copper and zinc oxide that is believed to account for the activity of Cu/ZnO methanol synthesis catalysts. The Uppsala instrument has the highest sensitivity at high energy resolution in the world, and thus has the capability of resolving the copper-zinc oxide interaction from the valence band photo electron spectrum of the Cu/ZnO catalyst. High resolution spectra of the core electron levels, as well as the Auger electron transition, may provide further evidence for the copper-zinc oxide interaction. In addition, participation in the ongoing programs at the Physics Institute will afford the principal investigator the opportunity to learn about the theoretical basis of new information that will likely be resolved by the new generation of high resolution ESCA instruments. The project will benefit from the significant background and experience in heterogeneous catalysis of the principal investigator, as well as the recent interest by the Uppsala group in the application of high energy resolution ESCA to solid state problems, including catalysis.

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Lehigh University
United States
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