Ambient Pressure Scanning Tunneling Microscopy
Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) helps us understand the local electronic structure and dynamic species of such surfaces, which is coupled with x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) to obtain chemical state information. These techniques are performed at both ambient pressure and ultra-high vacuum.
The research focus is bifurcated into two areas. The first is from a reaction standpoint: systems that are relevant to CO2 hydrogenation to value added products such as methanol. The support materials used for catalytically active metal species have been increasingly recognized of late as contributors to many reaction cycles. Thus, we aim to further understand the role of the supports used (often metal oxides) in this enhancement or stabilization of active species as it pertains to the reduction of carbon dioxide.
The second area of focus is a more material specific approach. I aim to characterize and elucidate the effects of alkali metals, such as potassium and cesium, which are sometimes added in small amounts to a catalyst to promote a reaction. Little is understood about the way that these metals interact with the material systems and reaction feedstocks.