(544gb) Plasmonic Catalysts for Ammonia Synthesis

Authors: 
Cimada da Silva, J. A., Cornell University
Cao, X., Cornell University
Erickson, D., Cornell University
Hanrath, T., Cornell University
Recent theoretical computational predictions about nitrogen dissociation on nanoplasmonic catalysts have inspired the exploration of a new class of catalysts that could enable ammonia synthesis at more moderate temperature and pressure relative to the conventional Haber-Bosch process. As a first step towards testing these theoretical predictions we present the colloidal synthesis of doped nanoplasmonic catalysts and their integration into a waveguide photoreactor. We investigated the structure and composition of the nanoplasmonic catalysts through a combination of high-resolution transmission electron microscopy and tomography, electron energy loss spectroscopy, X-ray scattering and absorption spectroscopy. We present initial advances towards establishing the basic structure-performance relationship of the nanoplasmonic catalyst. The confluence of concurrent advances in synthesis of size-tunable nanoplasmonic catalysts with programmable surface composition and integration into photochemical reactors with optimized light delivery create a fertile opportunity space for advances in photocatalytic ammonia synthesis. We will present initial advances towards establishing the scientific and engineering foundation to bring this prospect to fruition.