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Performance of copper - based catalysts for electrochemical CO2 reduction
Stefan Popović, 2023, doctoral dissertation

Abstract: The industrial era has brought a never-ending problem to civilization through the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) while extracting energy from fossil fuels for a variety of processes. Among different GHGs, carbon dioxide (CO2) stood out as one of the most impactful and dangerous gases causing climatic disasters around the globe. However, CO2 as the abundant C1 building block, through the conversion pathways gives a plethora of opportunities to convert it into a wide range of commercial products and applications. The holistic approach among different conversion pathways is the electrochemical reduction of CO2 (eCO2R), ideally powered by renewable energy from intermittent sources such as wind and solar power. A silver bullet of the process is to find a catalyst that is active, selective, and stable. Copper has been recognized as the only monometallic catalyst that can produce products that require a transfer of >2e-. However, in recent years the increased awareness of its reconstructive nature under eCO2RR-relevant conditions multiplied the complexity of the parameters that can influence the reaction. Therefore overall thesis's approach to studying copper-based catalysts is based to understand the reconstructive aspect and the stability of Cu-based catalysts, and deeply comprehend their relationship with the activity/selectivity. Chapter 1 gives an introduction to the recent activities in the field of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCSU) technologies, the fundaments of CO2 as a molecule, and its pathway toward state-of-the-art discoveries in the eCO2 R reaction. Afterward, the thesis focuses on the main experimental technique to produce nanostructured copper-based materials, namely, electrodeposition (Chapter 2). A big part of the thesis focuses on the establishment of an electrochemical setup for activity/selectivity measu rement. The setup consists of two parts: 1) construction of the custom-made gas-tight sandwich-type electrochemical cell and 2) optimization of the online gas and ex-situ liquid product detection. After the establishment of the reliable electrochemical setup, Chapter 3 focuses on electrochemically -grown Cu2O nanocubes catalyst and how the reconstructive nature induced by a particular electrochemical protocol influences on boost in activity/selectivity for methane production. The last part of the thesis consists contribution to the fundamental understanding of the degradation mechanisms and stability of Cu -based catalysts under eCO2RR conditions. A unique ex-situ approach, mirrored in identical location scanning electron microscopy (IL-SEM) method is employed to study electrodeposited spherical half-micron particles on the glassy carbon rotating disk electrode (GC-RDE). With this evidence, we could interpret the observed structural changes as two separate electrochemical processes occurring one after another, namely copper dissolution from pre-oxidized native nanoparticles and subsequent (electro -) redeposition of the dissolved copper species in a form of n ew smaller Cu fragments.
Keywords: electrocatalysts, electrochemical CO2 reduction, copper nanoparticles, IL-SEM, stability, degradation
Published in RUNG: 14.11.2023; Views: 536; Downloads: 10
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Mechanisms underlying the efficacy and safety of IgG, antibody fragments, and design immune biologics
Ario De Marco, 2023, short scientific article

Keywords: antibodies, nanoparticles, immunoactivation
Published in RUNG: 04.08.2023; Views: 573; Downloads: 3
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Separation of mercuric ions using 2-thienylbenzimidazole/cucurbit[7] uril/iron-oxide nanoparticles by pH control
Falguni Chandra, Paltan Laha, Farah Benyettou, Tina Škorjanc, Naʹil Saleh, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: 2-Thienylbenzimidazole (TBI)/cucurbit[7]uril (CB7) host–guest complex was used as a motif to significantly improve the turnover of γ-Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles for potential application in the separation of toxic mercuric ions in polluted water samples. The mechanism of restoring the original solid materials is based on applying the pH-controlled preferential binding of the CB7 host to the TBI guest. The analytical application of this concept has not been realized in the literature. The pH-controlled stimuli-responsive abilities were confirmed in aqueous solution by the three-order of magnitudes higher stability constant of the protonated TBIH+/CB7 complex (e.g., K = 4.8 × 108 M−1) when compared to neutral TBI/CB7 complex (e.g., K = 2.4 × 105 M−1), also manifested in an increase in pKa values by ~ 3.3 units in the ground state. The supramolecular interaction and adsorption on iron oxide nanoparticles (NPs) were also spectroscopically confirmed in the solid state. The excited-state lifetime values of TBI/CB7NPs increased upon lowering the pH values (e.g., from 0.6 to 1.3 ns) with a concomitant blue shift of ~ 25 nm because of polarity effects. The time-resolved photoluminescent behaviors of the final solids in the presence of CB7 ensured pH-driven reusable systems for capturing toxic mercuric ions. The study offers a unique approach for the controllable separation of mercury ions using an external magnet and in response to pH through preferential binding of the host to guest molecules on the top of magnetic surfaces.
Keywords: iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs), mercury, thienylbenzimidazole, cucurbit[n]uril
Published in RUNG: 13.07.2023; Views: 775; Downloads: 3
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Saturation magnetisation as an indicator of the disintegration of barium hexaferrite nanoplatelets during the surface functionalisation
Darja Lisjak, Iztok Arčon, Matic Poberžnik, Gabriela Herrero‑Saboya, Ali Tufani, Andraž Mavrič, Matjaž Valant, Patricija Hribar Boštjančič, Alenka Mertelj, Darko Makovec, Layla Martin‑Samos, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: Barium hexaferrite nanoplatelets (BHF NPLs) are permanent nanomagnets with the magnetic easy axis aligned perpendicular to their basal plane. By combining this specific property with optimised surface chemistry, novel functional materials were developed, e.g., ferromagnetic ferrofluids and porous nanomagnets. We compared the interaction of chemically different phosphonic acids, hydrophobic and hydrophilic with 1–4 phosphonic groups, with BHF NPLs. A decrease in the saturation magnetisation after functionalising the BHF NPLs was correlated with the mass fraction of the nonmagnetic coating, whereas the saturation magnetisation of the NPLs coated with a tetraphosphonic acid at 80 °C was significantly lower than expected. We showed that such a substantial decrease in the saturation magnetisation originates from the disintegration of BHF NPLs, which was observed with atomic-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy and confirmed by a computational study based on state-of-the-art first-principles calculations. Fe K-edge XANES (X-ray absorption near-edge structure) and EXAFS (Extended X-ray absorption fine structure) combined with Fourier-transformed infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy confirmed the formation of an Fe–phosphonate complex on the partly decomposed NPLs. Comparing our results with other functionalised magnetic nanoparticles confirmed that saturation magnetisation can be exploited to identify the disintegration of magnetic nanoparticles when insoluble disintegration products are formed.
Keywords: barium hexaferrite, Fe XANES, EXAFS, magnetic nanoparticles
Published in RUNG: 06.07.2023; Views: 927; Downloads: 3
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Colloidal nanoparticles for photo(electro)catalytic water splitting studies
Saim Emin, Manel Machreki, Takwa Chouki, 2022, published scientific conference contribution abstract

Keywords: nanoparticles, electrocatalysis, water splitting
Published in RUNG: 10.02.2023; Views: 1089; Downloads: 0
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