• Project Title: Optimizing Supported Platinum Catalytic Nanoparticles

  • BASIS Advisor: Dr. Bozidarevic

  • Internship Location: Stanford University

  • Onsite Mentor: Dr. Matteo Cargnello

Global warming has become an increasingly pressing issue, driven by the emission of greenhouse gases. As atmospheric hydrocarbons are far more potent on a per-molecule basis than carbon dioxide, it would therefore be highly environmentally beneficial if we could convert methane into the less-harmful carbon dioxide. Such a reaction is only practically feasible in the presence of a catalyst; palladium (Pd) and platinum (Pt) nanoparticles are known to be extremely effective. However, in order to maximize and sustain the efficiency of these catalysts over long periods of time, an equally efficacious support material is required and has yet to be determined. Through my research at Stanford University, I hope to find a greater understanding of the character of these Pd and Pt catalysts and their equally important supports in order to determine how to optimize their performance. I will conduct experiments with these nanoparticles to synthesize a variety of promising support materials, including recently proposed porous “cage” materials, and gather and analyze data regarding their behavior under diverse conditions in order to conclude which species and configuration of support material maximizes the performance and longevity of these metal catalysts. This project’s findings could be applied to many aspects of engineering, including cars, where more effective supported catalysts could lower the cost and maximize the lifespan of catalytic converters and give rise to cleaner emissions, helping us achieve our ultimate goal of a greener and brighter future.