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QUEELS: Software to calculate the energy loss processes in TEELS, REELS, XPS and AES including effects of the core hole

Tougaard, S; Pauly, N; Yubero, F
Surface and Interface Analysis


We present the user-friendly and freely available software package QUEELS (QUantitative analysis of Electron Energy Losses at Surfaces) that allows to calculate effective inelastic scattering cross sections within the dielectric response description, for swift electrons travelling nearby surfaces in several environments. We briefly describe the underlying theoretical models and illustrate its use to evaluate the distribution of energy losses taking place in electron spectroscopies like transmission electron energy loss spectroscopy (TEELS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) and reflection electron energy loss spectroscopy (REELS), which are widely used for material analysis. This includes the intrinsic excitations due to the core hole in XPS and AES.

April, 2022 | DOI: 10.1002/sia.7095

Z-scheme WO3/PANI heterojunctions with enhanced photocatalytic activity under visible light: A depth experimental and DFT studies

Y. Naciri; A.Hsini; A.Bouziani; K.Tanji; B.El Ibrahimi; M.N.Ghazza; B. Bakiz; A.Albourine; A.Benlhachemi; J.A. Navío
Chemosphere, 292 (2022) 133468


A WO3@PANI heterojunction photocatalyst with a various mass ratio of polyaniline to WO3 was obtained via the in situ oxidative deposition polymerization of aniline monomer in the presence of WO3 powder. The characterization of WO3@PANI composites was carried via X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM-EDS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), ultraviolet–visible diffuse reflection spectroscopy (DRS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and photoluminescence spectroscopy (PL). The photocatalytic efficiency of WO3@PANI photocatalysts was assessed by following the decomposition of the Rhodamine B (RhB) dye under visible light irradiation (λ >420 nm). The results evidenced the high efficiency of the WO3@PANI (0.5 wt %) nanocomposite in the photocatalytic degradation of RhB (90% within 120 min) under visible light irradiation 3.6 times compared to pure WO3. The synergistic effect between PANI and WO3 is the reason for the increased photogenerated carrier separation. The superior photocatalytic performance of the WO3@PANI catalyst was ascribed to the increased visible light in the visible range and the efficient charge carrier separation. Furthermore, the Density Functional Theory study (DFT) of WO3@PANI was performed at the molecular level, to find its internal nature for the tuning of photocatalytic efficiency. The DFT results indicated that the chemical bonds connected the solid-solid contact interfaces between WO3 and PANI. Finally, a plausible photocatalytic mechanism of WO3@PANI (0.5 wt %) performance under visible light illumination is suggested to guide additional photocatalytic activity development.

April, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.133468

Highly uniform Y3Al2Ga3O12-based nanophosphors for persistent luminescence bioimaging in the visible and NIR regions

Arroyo, E; Herrero, BT; De la Fuente, JM; Ocaña, M; Becerro, AI
Inorganic Chemistry Frontiers


In the last few years, persistent phosphors with a garnet crystal structure have attracted a great deal of interest for a plethora of applications ranging from bioimaging to anti-counterfeiting technologies. However, the development of synthesis methods to fabricate uniform garnet-based micro and nanoparticles, that are needed for such applications, is not mature at all. This study reports the synthesis of highly uniform yttrium aluminum gallium garnet nanospheres. The method is based on homogeneous precipitation in a polyol medium followed by silica coating and calcination. The nanoparticles resulting after silica removal were also uniform and were easily functionalized with polyacrylic acid. The colloidal stability of the latter in physiological media and their biocompatibility were analyzed. The luminescence of the particles, doped with Ce3+, Cr3+, and Nd3+, was studied by recording emission and excitation spectra and persistent luminescence decay curves. Due to their uniform morphology, high colloidal stability, absence of toxicity, and persistent emission in the visible and near-infrared regions, the reported nanospheres show great potential as persistent luminescent bioimaging probes. In addition, the synthesis method paves the way for future use of this persistent material in other applications that require the phosphor to be in the form of highly uniform nanoparticles.

April, 2022 | DOI: 10.1039/d2qi00480a

Insights into the structural and physicochemical properties of Zn-Bi-O composites for efficient photodegradation of caffeic acid, rhodamine B and methyl orange

F.Puga; J.A.Navío; J.M.Córdoba; F.Romero-Sarria; M.C.Hidalgo
Applied Surface Science, 581 (2022) 152351


Different Zn-Bi-O composites were synthesized following the starting chemical molar composition of ZnBi2O4 spinels by a sol–gel method, (ZnBiO)-SG, and its subsequent hydrothermal treatment, (ZnBiO)-HT. The acquired X-ray diffractograms after sequential thermal treatments at a programmed rate indicate that both precursors evolved, after calcination at 500 °C, to materials (ZnBiO) with different stoichiometry. The use of different characterization techniques (both FT-IR and TEM), allowed us to establish that, with the sol–gel process a mixed ZnO/Bi2O3 oxide is generated, while after hydrothermal process a ternary Zn-Bi-O oxide is formed, with small amounts of residual ZnO. The photocatalytic properties of the synthesized samples were evaluated using Caffeic acid, Rhodamine B and Methyl Orange as model substrates. It can be concluded that both catalysts showed excellent photocatalytic activity for the degradation of trans-caffeic acid under both UV and visible illumination. The leaching process (in particular of zinc), which is produced with the illumination time (in particular under UV illumination) in the presence of oxygen, raises the hypothesis of a foreseeable formation of complexes (photochemically stable or unstable) of caffeic acid with Zn2+ and Bi3+ ions. The plausible donor/acceptor interactions between the toxic molecules studied and the Zn2+ and Bi3+ ions, could condition the degradation processes, by means of a photoassisted process that would take place both, in the heterogeneous (photocatalytic) and homogeneous (photoassisted) phases. For the degradation processes of Rhodamine B and Methyl Orange, additional experimental conditions are studied that significantly improved their photocatalytic degradation.

April, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apsusc.2021.152351

Ionomer-Free Nickel-Iron bimetallic electrodes for efficient anion exchange membrane water electrolysis

Lopez-Fernandez, E; Gomez-Sacedon, C; Gil-Rostra, J; Espinos, JP; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR; Yubero, F; De Lucas-Consuegra, A
Chemical Engineering Journal, 433 (2022) 133774


A bottleneck for the deployment of the Anion Exchange Membrane Water Electrolysis (AEMWE) is the manufacturing of efficient and long lasting anodes and cathodes for the cells. Highly performant bimetallic Ni/Fe catalyst films with various atomic ratios have been prepared by magnetron sputtering in an oblique angle configuration (MS-OAD) and used as anodes for AEMWE. Electrocatalytic experiments in a small three-electrode cell and a thorough analysis of the electrode properties with various physico-chemical characterization tech-niques have been used to select the nanostructured anode catalyst which, depicting an optimized Ni/Fe ratio, presents the maximum activity for the oxygen evolution reaction. These anode layers are then scale-up for their integration in an AEMWE cell where the influence of assembly conditions and the effect of adding an ionomer to the anodes have been studied. The obtained results have demonstrated the outstanding properties of the fabri-cated bimetallic films in terms of activity, stability, and operation under ionomer-free conditions. Current density values around 400 and 600 mA cm(-2) at 40??& nbsp;and 60 C (2.0 V), respectively, much higher than those obtained with pure Ni, were obtained with an optimized membrane electrode assembly. The high yield obtained with these electrodes gains further relevance when considering that the current yield per unit mass of the anodic active phase catalyst (i.e., 1086 mA mg(-1) at 2.0 V and 40??) is the highest among equivalent values reported in literature. The possibilities and prospects of the use of bimetallic catalyst films prepared by MS-OAD for AEMWE are discussed.

April, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.cej.2021.133774

Enhanced up-conversion photoluminescence in fluoride-oxyfluoride nanophosphor films by embedding gold nanoparticles

Ngo, TT; Lozano, G; Miguez, H
Materials Advances (2022)


Owing to their unique non-linear optical character, lanthanide-based up-converting materials are potentially interesting for a wide variety of fields ranging from biomedicine to light harvesting. However, their poor luminescent efficiency challenges the development of technological applications. In this context, localized surface plasmon resonances (LSPRs) have been demonstrated as a valuable strategy to improve light conversion. Herein, we utilize LSPR induced by gold nanoparticles (NPs) to enhance up-conversion photoluminescence (UCPL) in transparent, i.e. scattering-free, films made of nanophosphors formed by fluoride–oxyfluoride host matrix that feature high thermal stability. Transparency allows excitation by an external source without extinction losses caused by unwanted diffuse reflection. We provide a simple method to embed gold NPs in films made of YF/YOF:Yb3+,Er3+ UC nanophosphors, via preparation of a viscous paste composed of both UC nanophosphors and colloidal gold NPs, reducing complexity in sample fabrication. The dimensions of gold NPs are such that their associated LSPR matches spectrally with the green emission band of the Er3+ doped nanophosphors. In order to demonstrate the benefits of plasmonic nanoparticles for UCPL in nanophosphor films, we provide a careful analysis of the structural properties of the composite thin films along with precise characterization of the impact of the gold NPs on the photophysical properties of UC nanophosphors.

April, 2022 | DOI: 10.1039/D2MA00068G

Structural analysis of mixed alpha- and beta-amyrin samples

Gomez-Pulido, LDM; Gonzalez-Cano, RC; Benitez, JJ; Dominguez, E; Heredia, A
Royal Society Open Science, 9 (2022) 211787


Little is known about the structure and molecular arrangement of alpha- and beta-amyrin, a class of triterpenoids found within the cuticle of higher plants. Blends of both amyrin isomers with different ratios have been studied taking into consideration a combined methodology of density functional theory (DFT) calculations with experimental data from scanning electron microscopy, differential scanning calorimetry and Raman vibrational spectroscopy. Results indicate that trigonal trimeric aggregations of isomer mixtures are more stable, especially in the 1 : 2 (alpha : beta) ratio. A combination of Raman spectroscopy and DFT calculations has allowed to develop an equation to determine the amount of beta-amyrin in a mixed sample.

April, 2022 | DOI: 10.1098/rsos.211787

Insight into the role of temperature, time and pH in the effective zirconium retention using clay minerals

Pavon, E; Alba, MD
Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, 308 (2022) 114635


The use of zirconium in chemical industries generates a potential risk of Zr contamination in the environment, with particular concern for the decommissioning of uranium-graphite reactors. Among the natural adsorbents employed for the treatment of nuclear waste, clay minerals showed a very high affinity adsorption for radionuclides, but the influence of the chemical composition, pressure, temperature and time reaction have not yet been analysed on deep. Thus, the objective of this research is to explore several experimental conditions for an actual prediction of the behaviour of zirconium immobilization by clay minerals. The results have shown that factors such as zirconium cation nature (Zr4+ or ZrO2+), temperature, time and pH influence the extent of zirconium immobilization by clay minerals and the zirconium phases generated. At moderate conditions, zirconium tectosilicates are formed and evolve to zircon at high temperature and a longer time reaction.

April, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2022.114635

Strength and thermal shock resistance of fiber-bonded Si-Al-C-O and Si-Ti-C-O ceramics

Vera, MC; Martinez-Fernandez, J; Singh, M; Ramirez-Rico, J
International Journal of Applied Ceramic Technology, 19 (2022) 1126-1135


Silicon carbide-based fiber-bonded ceramics, obtained from hot pressing of woven silicon carbide fibers, are a cost-effective alternative to ceramic-matrix composites due to their ease of fabrication, involving few processing steps, and competitive thermomechanical properties. In this work, we studied the high-temperature strength and thermal shock resistance of Si-Al-C-O and Si-Ti-C-O fiber-bonded SiC ceramics obtained from hot pressing of two types of ceramic fibers, by mechanical testing in four-point bending. The bending strength of Si-Al-C-O-based fiber-bonded ceramics at room temperature is similar to 250-260 MPa and remains constant with temperature, while the bending strength of Si-Ti-C-O increases slightly from the initial 220 to similar to 250 MPa for the highest temperature. Both materials retain up to 90% of their room temperature strength after thermal shocks of 1400 degrees C and show no reduction in elastic moduli. After thermal shock, failure mode is the same as in the case of as-received materials.

March, 2022 | DOI: 10.1111/ijac.13928

Multiscale ultrafast laser texturing of marble for reduced surface wetting

Ariza, R; Alvarez-Alegria, M; Costas, G; Tribaldo, L; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR; Siegel, J; Solis, J
Applied Surface Science, 577 (2022) 152850


The modification of the wetting properties of marble surfaces upon multi-scale texturing induced by ultrafast laser processing (340 fs pulse duration, 1030 nm wavelength) has been investigated with the aim of evaluating its potential for surface protection. The contact angle (CA) of a water drop placed on the surface was used to assess the wettability of the processed areas. Although the surfaces are initially hydrophilic upon laser treatment, after a few days they develop a strong hydrophobic behavior. Marble surfaces have been irradiated with different scan line separations to elucidate the relative roles of multi-scale roughness (nano-and micro-texture) and chemical changes at the surface. The time evolution of the contact angle has been then monitored up to 11 months after treatment. A short and a long-term evolution, associated to the combined effect of multi-scale roughness and the attachment of chemical species at the surface over the time, have been observed. XPS and ATR measurements are consistent with the progressive hydroxylation of the laser treated surfaces although the additional contribution of hydrocarbon adsorbates to the wettability evolution cannot be ruled-out. The robustness of the results has been tested by CA measurements after cleaning in different conditions with very positive results.

March, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apsusc.2021.151850

Analysis of Dry Reforming as direct route for gas phase CO2 conversion. The past, the present and future of catalytic DRM technologies

le Sache, E; Reina, TR
Progress in Energy and Combustion Science, 89 (2022) 100970


Transition to low carbon societies requires advanced catalysis and reaction engineering to pursue green routes for fuels and chemicals production as well as CO2 conversion. This comprehensive review provides a fresh perspective on the dry reforming of methane reaction (DRM) which constitutes a straightforward approach for effective CO2 conversion to added value syngas. The bottleneck for the implementation of this process at industrial scale is the development of highly active and robust heterogeneous catalysts able to overcome the CO2 activation barrier and deliver sufficient amount of the upgrading products at the desired operation conditions. Also, its high energy demand due to the endothermic nature of the reaction imposes extra difficulties. This review critically discusses the recent progresses on catalysts design ranging from traditional metal-supported catalysts to advanced structured and nanostructured systems with promising performance. The main advantages and culprits of the different catalytic systems are introduced aiming to inspire the catalysis community to further refine these formulations towards the development of "supercatalysts" for DRM. Besides the design of increasingly complex catalyst morphologies as well as other promising alternatives aiming at reducing the energy consumption of the process or tackle deactivation through reactor design are introduced.

March, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.pecs.2021.100970

Rhodamine 6G and 800 intermolecular heteroaggregates embedded in PMMA for near-infrared wavelength shifting

Castillo-Seoane, J; Gonzalez-García, L; Obrero-Pérez, JM; Aparicio, FJ; Borras, A; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR; Barranco, A; Sanchez-Valencia, JR
Journal of Materials Chemistry C


The opto-electronic properties of small-molecules and functional dyes usually differ when incorporated into solid matrices with respect to their isolated form due to an aggregation phenomenon that alters their optical and fluorescent properties. These spectroscopic modifications are studied in the framework of the exciton theory of aggregates, which has been extensively applied in the literature for the study of molecular aggregates of the same type of molecules (homoaggregation). Despite the demonstrated potential of the control of the heteroaggregation process (aggregation of different types of molecules), most of the reported works are devoted to intramolecular aggregates, complex molecules formed by several chromophores attached by organic linkers. The intramolecular aggregates are specifically designed to hold a certain molecular structure that, on the basis of the exciton theory, modifies their optical and fluorescent properties with respect to the isolated chromophores that form the molecule. The present article describes in detail the incorporation of Rhodamine 6G (Rh6G) and 800 (Rh800) into polymeric matrices of poly-(methyl methacrylate), PMMA. The simultaneous incorporation of both dyes results in an enhanced fluorescent emission in the near-infrared (NIR), originating from the formation of ground-state Rh6G-Rh800 intermolecular heteroaggregates. The systematic control of the concentration of both rhodamines provides a model system for the elucidation of the heteroaggregate formation. The efficient energy transfer between Rh6G and Rh800 molecules can be used as wavelength shifters to convert effectively the light from visible to NIR, a very convenient wavelength range for many practical applications which make use of inexpensive commercial detectors and systems.

March, 2022 | DOI: 10.1039/d1tc06167d

Research on properties and catalytic behaviour in CO hydrogenation at atmospheric and high pressure of bimetallic systems (10%Co+0.5%Pd)/TiO2 (Al2O3)

Shopska, M; Caballero, A; Platero, F; Todorova, S; Tenchev, K; Fabian, M; Aleksieva, K;Kolev, H; Kadinov, G
Reaction Kinetics Mechanisms and Catalysis


The properties of prereduced (10%Co + 0.5%Pd)/Al2O3 (TiO2) systems in the CO hydrogenation reaction at atmospheric and high pressure were studied. At atmospheric pressure, alumina-supported catalysts were more selective toward methane but those using titania were more active. Alumina containing samples demonstrated high temperature H-2 desorption, firmly held surface carbonate species, high tendency to agglomeration. During the reaction metal surface reconstruction and increased formation of CH2 groups occurred being more pronounced with titania-supported catalysts. Stability tests at 250 degrees C showed opposite behaviour of both systems. Monodentate carbonate intermediates adsorbed on sites of moderate strength prevailed on titania samples, while formate species predominated on high strength sites of alumina-supported catalysts. High pressure catalytic tests revealed dependence of activity on T-red, synthesis of C2+ hydrocarbons, decreased CO2 production, a higher CH4/CO2 ratio for alumina containing system. Due to SMSI, increased CO2 production on titania samples was preserved. Titania-supported catalysts revealed a stronger decrease of CO conversion rising T-red while alumina catalysts had almost unchanged activity. CO conversion decreased with time due to difficulties in surface diffusion of reagents/intermediates/products and metal particle agglomeration. Concerning T-red comparison of product distribution showed a steady trend. Because of stable CO and CHx surface species, titania containing catalysts produced lower content of C5+ compounds. Alumina-supported samples showed a higher selectivity to C5+ compounds at the expense of methane. A higher selectivity ratio for CH4 and CO2 determined in catalytic CO hydrogenation over a certain catalyst at atmospheric pressure could indicate that a given sample is predisposed to form C2+ hydrocarbons at a higher pressure.

March, 2022 | DOI: 10.1007/s11144-022-02194-x

Highly Anisotropic Organometal Halide Perovskite Nanowalls Grown by Glancing-Angle Deposition

Castillo-Seoane, J; Contreras-Bernal, L; Obrero-Perez, JM; Garcia-Casas, X; Lorenzo-Lazaro, F; Aparicio, FJ; Lopez-Santos, C; Rojas, TC; Anta, JA; Borras, A; Barranco, A; Sanchez-Valencia, JR
Advanced Materials (2022) 2107739


Polarizers are ubiquitous components in current optoelectronic devices as displays or photographic cameras. Yet, control over light polarization is an unsolved challenge, since the main drawback of the existing display technologies is the significant optical losses. In such a context, organometal halide perovskites (OMHP) can play a decisive role given their flexible synthesis with tunable optical properties such as bandgap and photoluminescence, and excellent light emission with a low non-radiative recombination rate. Therefore, along with their outstanding electrical properties have elevated hybrid perovskites as the material of choice in photovoltaics and optoelectronics. Among the different OMHP nanostructures, nanowires and nanorods have lately arisen as key players in the control of light polarization for lighting or detector applications. Herein, the fabrication of highly aligned and anisotropic methylammonium lead iodide perovskite nanowalls by glancing-angle deposition, which is compatible with most substrates, is presented. Their high alignment degree provides the samples with anisotropic optical properties such as light absorption and photoluminescence. Furthermore, their implementation in photovoltaic devices provides them with a polarization-sensitive response. This facile vacuum-based approach embodies a milestone in the development of last-generation polarization-sensitive perovskite-based optoelectronic devices such as lighting appliances or self-powered photodetectors.

March, 2022 | DOI: 10.1002/adma.202107739

Understanding the promotional effect of Pt/CeO2 in cobalt-catalyzed Fischer-Tropsch synthesis using operando infrared spectroscopy at moderated pressures

Bobadilla, LF; Egana, A; Castillo, R.; Romero-Sarria, F.; Centeno, M.A.; Sanz, O.; Montes, M.; Odriozola, J.A.
FUEL, 312 (2022) 122964


Fischer-Tropsch (FTS) reaction is a well-known catalytic process for the conversion of synthesis gas into liquid fuels. The addition of a water gas shift (WGS) catalyst to the FTS one has been postulate to notably increase the efficiency of the process. In order to investigate this issue, we conducted the FTS reaction over a Co-Re/Al2O3 catalyst combined with an optimal WGS Pt/CeO2 catalyst. We observed a notable increase of CO conversion in presence of the Pt/CeO2 catalyst that a priori could be attributed to the WGS reaction. However, the WGS reaction is unfavourable at pressures higher than 1 bar and CO/CO2 hydrogenation over Pt/CeO2 could be more favoured under FTS reaction conditions. In order to gain insights on this fact and elucidate the role of Pt/CeO2 in the FTS reaction we have performed an operando DRIFTS-MS study under close FTS reaction conditions at 4 bar over the Pt/CeO2 catalyst.

March, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.fuel.2021.122964

Preferential CO oxidation in hydrogen-rich gases over Ag catalysts supported on different supports

Todorova, S; Kolev, H; Karakirova, Y; Filkova, D; Grahovski, B; Aleksieva, K; Holgado, JP; Kadinov, G; Caballero, A
Reaction Kinetics Mechanisms and Catalysis,


The monometallic silver supported on SiO2, Al2O3, ZSM-5 (Si:Al = 100) and bi-metallic AgCe/SiO2 samples were studied in the reaction of the preferential CO oxidation. It was established that the supported silver catalysts are promising systems for selective oxidation of CO at low temperatures and the addition of cerium oxide increases the catalytic activity and selectivity most probably because of the increase in the silver dispersion; the homogeneous distribution of Ag and ceria on the silica support; formation of Ag-n(delta+) clusters; increase in bulk and subsurface oxygen.

March, 2022 | DOI: 10.1007/s11144-022-02158-1

Plasma assisted CO2 dissociation in pure and gas mixture streams with a ferroelectric packed-bed reactor in ambient conditions

Navascues, P; Cotrino, J; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR; Gomez-Ramirez, A
Chemical Engineering Journal, 430 (2022) 133066


Carbon dioxide decomposition is a challenging target to combat climate change. Nonthermal plasmas are advantageous for this purpose because they operate at ambient conditions and can be easily scaled-up. In this study, we attempt the CO2 splitting into CO and O-2 in a parallel plate packed-bed plasma reactor moderated with Lead Zirconate Titanate (PZT) as fermelectric component, achieving conversion rates and energy efficiencies higher than those obtained with BaTiO3 in our experimental device. The analysis of the reaction mechanisms with optical emission spectroscopy under various operating conditions has shown a direct correlation between energy efficiency and intensity of CO* emission bands. These results and those obtained with a LiNbO3 plate placed onto the active electrode suggest that high temperature electrons contribute to the splitting of CO2 through an enhancement in the formation of CO2+ intermediate species. Results obtained for CO2 + O-2 mixtures confirm this view and suggest that back recombination processes involving CO and O-2 may reduce the overall splitting efficiency. The study of mixtures of CO2 and dry air has proved the capacity of fermelectric packed-bed reactors to efficiently decompose CO2 with no formation of harmful NxOy subproducts in conditions close to those in real facilities. The found enhancement in energy efficiency with respect to that found for the pure gas decomposition supports that new reaction pathways involving nitrogen molecules are contributing to the dissociation reaction. We conclude that PZT moderated packed-bed plasma reactors is an optimum alternative for the decompositon of CO2 in real gas flows and ambient conditions.

February, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.cej.2021.133066

Iron-catalyzed graphitization for the synthesis of nanostructured graphitic carbons

Hunter, RD; Ramirez-Rico, J; Schnepp, Z
Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 10 (2022) 4489-4516


Carbons are versatile and diverse materials that have numerous applications across energy and environmental sciences. Carbons with a graphitic structure are particularly appealing due to their high chemical stability, large surface areas and high thermal and electronic conductivity. Numerous methods exist to produce nanostructured graphitic carbons but some of these can be energy-intensive and/or have problems with scalability. One option that is being increasingly explored is the process of iron-catalyzed graphitization. This simply involves the pyrolysis of carbon-rich precursors in the presence of an iron catalyst and has been used to produce carbons with a wide range of structures and properties. This review will examine the current field of iron-catalyzed graphitization, with a focus on molecular organic or biomass precursors. Bio-derived precursors are particularly attractive as a potential option for sustainable production of graphitic carbons. We start with a brief introduction to some key carbon structures, the current applications in which they are employed and some of the key methods that have been developed to produce nanostructured graphitic carbons. We will then review the history of catalytic graphitization before evaluating the wide range of conditions and precursors that have been employed in catalytic graphitization. Finally, this review will investigate the current challenges facing iron-catalyzed graphitization, looking particularly at the limitations of the current understanding of the mechanistic aspects of graphitization, with a view to outlining where research in this field might progress.

February, 2022 | DOI: 10.1039/d1ta09654k

Exploring the photocatalytic activities of a highly {0 0 1} faceted TiO2 sensitized by coupling with AgBr or Ag3PO4

F.Puga; J.A.Navío; M.A.Paulete-Romero; J.M.Córdoba; M.C.Hidalgo
Materials Science and Engineering: B, 276 (2022) 115555


TiO2 with high {0 0 1} facet exposure was coupled with AgBr or Ag3PO4. Catalysts were widely characterized and tested with rhodamine B (RhB) or caffeic acid under UV and visible light. Combination of the used sensitizer (AgBr or Ag3PO4) with TiO2, not only enhances the high photocatalytic activity shown in the UV for TiO2, but it also largely increases the degradation activity under visible illumination. A synergistic effect toward photocatalytic degradation in the visible light was observed when coupling AgBr and TiO2, with the photocatalytic degradation profiles being strongly related to the molar percentages of the coupled materials and to the nature of the contaminant. The recycling of the coupled materials allows us to conclude that the AgBr(50%)/TiO2 sample presents better results in the consecutive reuse cycles and percentages of RhB dye mineralization, in contrast to those observed for the Ag3PO4(50%)/TiO2 composite.

February, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.mseb.2021.115555

Boosting water activation determining-step in WGS reaction on structured catalyst by Mo-doping

Garcia-Moncada, N; Jurado, L; Martinez-Tejada, LM; Romero-Sarria, F; Odriozola, JA
Catalysis Today, 383 (2022) 193-204


Proton conductors Mo-Eu-Zr mixed oxide systems were synthesized and further mixed with a conventional Pt/CeO2/Al2O3 catalyst to develop a highly efficient water-gas-shift (WGS) catalyst. The designed catalyst, once structured, allows reach the equilibrium conversion at medium temperatures (similar to 350 degrees C) at 80 L.g(-1) h(-1) space velocity. The ability of the proton conductor to maintain an elevated water concentration at the metal-support interface by Grotthuss' mechanism boosts the catalytic activity in WGS reaction.

The Mo-containing proton conductor is extensively characterized allowing to establish the formation of molybdenum oxide phases nucleating on top of the Eu sites in Eu-Zr oxide solid solution. [MoO4](2-) to [Mo7O24](6-) clusters nucleates at low Mo contents resulting in a alpha-MoO3 layer on increasing its content. In presence of H-2, Mobronzes are formed from similar to 200 degrees C enhancing water concentration at the surfaces and boosting the catalytic activity in the WGS reaction. These results pave the way for developing lower volume WGS reactors.

January, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.cattod.2020.06.003