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Michelle L. Personick




Advances in the reduction of energy consumption are necessary due to increasing growth in industrial energy demand, especially in the chemical sector. A promising solution is the development of high performance catalytic materials. Nanoparticles are a particularly promising class of catalysts because their size, shape, and composition can be adjusted using a variety of synthetic techniques. An important industrial reaction is the selective hydrogenation of alkynes, which can be catalyzed by palladium-silver nanoparticles. However, the controlled synthesis of these bimetallic catalysts has been challenging, and as a consequence, the effects of particle shape and composition on catalytic behavior have not been well studied. Thus, this thesis seeks to develop new methods for the synthesis of palladium-silver nanoparticles, and evaluate these materials for selective hydrogenation reactions. Chapter One reviews the principles and theories behind nanoparticle synthesis, as well as the application of nanoparticles for catalysis. Chapter Two describes the synthesis of novel palladium-silver nanoparticles with well-defined facets, and expands upon the mechanistic understanding of this system. Chapter Three explores the use of palladium-silver octahedra, cubes, and rhombic dodecahedra for the selective hydrogenation of 1-hexyne. Overall, this thesis provides improved synthetic routes and mechanistic details for the synthesis of palladium-silver nanoparticles, and systematically evaluates the influence of bimetallic particle shape and composition on catalytic behavior.

Available for download on Thursday, June 01, 2023



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