Operando X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy of catalytic materials

Dr Alex Walton, University of Manchester

It is our pleasure to invite you all to our School Seminar that will be delivered by Dr Alex Walton, University of Manchester, on Wednesday 29/11/2023 at 15.00-16.00 (London time) in Chemistry LT B.

Alex Walton is Research Fellow in Material Chemistry. His research interests lie in using cutting-edge characterisation equipment to gain insight into understanding the surface chemistry of functional materials, with a particular emphasis on heterogeneous catalysis.

TitleOperando X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy of catalytic materials

Abstract: Developing more active, more stable and more earth-abundant catalysts will be critical to a future decarbonised economy. Catalyst development is hampered by a generally poor understanding of catalytic mechanisms leading to a reliance on trial-and-error methodology. A big reason for this is that port-mortem characterisation of catalysts is inadequate, the phase of the catalyst before or after the reaction may not be the same as during and the measurement provides little or no mechanistic insight. Operando techniques (studying the catalyst in operation) are therefore essential to further our understanding, but are much more challenging to develop and implement.

X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy is a powerful tool for the study of surface chemistry as it gives you elementally specific, chemically sensitive and surface sensitive spectroscopic information. It is traditionally a post-mortem technique, but Near-Ambient Pressure XPS is increasingly accessible as a research tool, enabling the study of surfaces in a (more) realistic environment.

I will give an overview of my research group’s work which focusses around instrument and methodology development in order to perform operando characterisation of catalytic materials, both for conventional (thermal) heterogeneous catalysis and electrocatalysis.  Our main technique is NAP-XPS but it is supported by other surface science techniques such as scanning probe microscopy.

Biography: Alex Walton is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Manchester. He received this PhD in 2010 from the University of Leeds (in physics). After a postdoc position in the same department, in 2012 he took up a postdoc position at the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Centre (iNano) at Aarhus University, Denmark. He moved to Manchester to take up an academic position as Research Fellow in 2015 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2021. His research focus is spectroscopic characterisation of catalysts, with a focus on operando characterisation using Near-Ambient Pressure X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy.

Please join us for this seminar and enjoy the excellent science from Dr Alex Walton.

 **Note to all PhD students: Attendance of school seminars is expected from all PhD students and is part of your assessment in your transfer viva and annual review.

Best regards from the school seminar team,

David Santos-Carballal

Yi-Yeoun Kim

Bao Nguyen