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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Porous Core-Shell Nanostructures for Catalytic Applications

  • Author(s): Ewers, Trevor David
  • Advisor(s): Alivisatos, Paul
  • et al.

Porous core-shell nanostructures have recently received much attention for their enhanced thermal stability. They show great potential in the field of catalysis, as reactant gases can diffuse in and out of the porous shell while the core particle is protected from sintering, a process in which particles coalesce to form larger particles. Sintering is a large problem in industry and is the primary cause of irreversible deactivation.

Despite the obvious advantages of high thermal stability, porous core-shell nanoparticles can be developed to have additional interactive properties from the combination of the core and shell together, rather than just the core particle alone. This dissertation focuses on developing new porous core-shell systems in which both the core and shell take part in catalysis.

Two types of systems are explored; (1) yolk-shell nanostructures with reducible oxide shells formed using the Kirkendall effect and (2) ceramic-based porous oxide shells formed using sol-gel chemistry. Of the Kirkendall-based systems, Au@FexOy and Cu@CoO were synthesized and studied for catalytic applications. Additionally, ZnO was explored as a potential shelling material. Sol-gel work focused on optimizing synthetic methods to allow for coating of small gold particles, which remains a challenge today. Mixed metal oxides were explored as a shelling material to make dual catalysts in which the product of a reaction on the core particle becomes a reactant within the shell.

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