Title

Computational Screening of Sub-nanometer Transition Metal Clusters for Catalytic Activity

Faculty Sponsor

Stan Zygmunt

Department/Program

Physics and Astronomy

ORCID Identifier(s)

0000-0002-3519-5122

Document Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 2015

Abstract

When searching for a more efficient way to dehydrogenate propane into propene, the use of sub-nanometer transition metal alloy clusters as catalysts may be a possible solution. We have used the computational quantum mechanics program VASP to calculate the structures and energies of four-atom transition metal cluster alloys and the complexes they form with propane and propene. Since the d-band model has been used to correlate the d-band center with catalytic activity for transition metal surfaces and nanometer-sized clusters, we have also calculated the d-band center and molecular binding energies for these four-atom clusters. We hope to use this method for an efficient screening of possible alloy clusters for desirable catalytic properties. Results are presented for four-atom alloy clusters of Ni-Ga and Ni-Zn and tentative conclusions are drawn about their suitability as propane dehydrogenation catalysts.

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