Watching Active Sites and Species in Catalytic Reactions: Boosting Sensitivity and Adding Selectivity by Modulation Excitation Spectroscopy

Atsushi Urakawa (Institut Català d'Investigació Química, ICIQ)

Location: Aula 104, ETSEQ
Start time: Nov. 8, 2013, 12 p.m.

Abstract

Selective detection of catalytic active sites and chemical transformation remains a great challenge despite the recent development of highly sensitive detectors and a variety of operando methodologies. This difficulty is particularly pronounced for the detection under in situ/operando conditions where gas/liquid species as well as spectator species and materials (such as catalyst support) are present and contribute to detected signals. A practically facile and effective approach to improve the detection sensitivity and selectivity is modulation excitation spectroscopy (MES). MES utilizes external perturbation, such as a change in concentration, temperature, and light flux, to selectively influence the concentration of species and transformation of our interest. With a mathematical transformation of the detected signal, we can remove noise, boost the signal we wish to monitor, and access to transformation pathways and mechanisms.
In this talk, the working principle, practical implementation, and examples of MES will be shown. The examples cover studies of reactions at gas-solid and solid-liquid interfaces as well as bulk materials using vibrational spectroscopic techniques and X-ray diffraction and absorption spectroscopy. Besides MES, our group’s recent research activities, particularly on catalytic CO2 conversion, are briefly presented.

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About Atsushi Urakawa

Institution: Institut Català d'Investigació Química, ICIQ

Atsushi Urakawa was born in Fukuoka, Japan in 1976.
He obtained his BSc degree (1999) in Applied Chemistry at Kyushu University (Fukuoka, Japan) including one year stay in the USA. Afterwards, he continued his education in Chemical Engineering at the Delft University of Technology (Delft, The Netherlands) for his MSc study (2001) and further at the ETH Zurich (Zurich, Switzerland) for his PhD study (2006 with distinction).
In 2006, he undertook a position as an Oberassistent (senior scientist/lecturer) in the group of Prof. Alfons Baiker at the ETH Zurich. With his research team, he developed various in situ/operando spectroscopic techniques to understand heterogeneous catalytic processes with aid of ab initio static and dynamic calculations.
In January 2010, he joined the ICIQ as a group leader where he leads a research group with particular emphasis on the development of in situ/operando spectroscopic tools and on the rational design of heterogeneous catalytic processes potentially pivotal for solving environmental and energy-related problems by means of combined experimental-theoretical approaches.

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