Alloys are often used in many important chemical interactions to break the so called scaling relations: the binding energies of a wide variety of catalytic intermediates are correlated on pure metal surfaces that hinder the optimizations of the catalyst. Adding a second metal surmounts these difficulties, but introduces the issue of phase separation. Naval alloys such as cupronickel (CuNi) show improved structural strength, and form a phase segregated passivation layer in corrosive environments. But harsh oxidative/reductive environments induce irreversible surface changes that can nullify the benefits of bimetal catalysts and alloys.
Platinum and Alumina Oxide Supports
The interaction between metal active sites and support structures of heterogeneous metal oxides greatly affect catalytic efficiency, and this interplay may change reaction or thermal treatment. X-Ray diffraction (XRD) spectra prove essential to differentiating support structures and surface relationships, and the Yang lab uses both experimental and computational diffraction techniques to provide comprehensive insight into the real structure of gamma-alumina supports doped with platinum.
Microbial Interactions with Nanomaterials
Metal surfaces, like any, are environments for microbial growth, effecting the viability of surgical implants and other medical devices for long term patient health. Bacterial films interacting with synthetic nanostructures are of particular interest for future treatment and drug delivery methods.
Characterization and Structural Validation
Many synthetic chemists lack the in-house capabilities and resources to properly determine the success of their own syntheses, particularly for specific patterns or surfaces at the nanoscale. We provide such determinations for many of our collaborators.