CBE Seminar: Understanding and Engineering Catalytic Materials Using Nanocrystal Precursors

ISEB 1200
Matteo Cargnello, Ph.D.

Associate Professor 
Department of Chemical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering (courtesy) and SUNCAT Center for Interface Science and Catalysis 
Stanford University

Abstract: Catalytic processes are central to the goal of a sustainable future. A promising approach in developing catalytic materials is represented by the design of catalytic sites based on the knowledge of structure-property relationships and in the precise synthesis of these sites at the atomic level. Colloidal nanocrystals with tunable active sites and compositions can help in this mission. The goal of this talk is to show how this approach can provide not only fundamental understanding of catalytic reactions but also a way to precisely engineer reaction sites to produce efficient catalysts that are active, stable and selective for several important transformations. Advances in the synthesis of these materials will be presented. Examples of the use of these building blocks as supported systems or in combination with hybrid organic materials will be shown both to understand trends in methane and CO2 activation and in the preparation of optimized catalytic systems combining multiple active phases. In all these examples, important efforts to obtain precious structure-property relationships will be highlighted with this knowledge used to prepare more efficient and stable catalysts for reducing the emission of greenhouse gases and for the sustainable production of fuels and chemicals.

Bio: Matteo Cargnello received his Ph.D. in nanotechnology in 2012 at the University of Trieste, Italy, under the supervision of professor Paolo Fornasiero and he was then a post-doctoral scholar in the chemistry department at the University of Pennsylvania with professor Christopher B. Murray before joining the faculty at Stanford University in January 2015. He is currently associate professor of chemical engineering and by courtesy, of materials science and engineering and Vance D. and Arlene C. Coffman Faculty Scholar. Cargnello is the recipient of several awards including the Sloan Fellowship in 2018, the Mitsui Chemicals Catalysis Science Award for Creative Work in 2020 and the Early Career Award in Catalysis from the ACS Catalysis Division in 2022. The general goals of the research in the Cargnello group pertain to solving energy and environmental challenges. The group focuses on capture and conversion of carbon dioxide, emission control and reduction of methane and hydrocarbon emissions in the atmosphere, sustainable chemical practices through electro- and photocatalysis, sustainable production of hydrogen and chemical recycling of plastics.