The objective of the project is to develop light-powered plasmonic catalysts, which will be more effective and produce less by-products than conventional catalysts currently used in the processes of the chemical industries.
Energy into nanosized metal particles
– Since catalysts are used in most processes within the chemical industries, utilising sunlight as energy input will be vital in the future, says Pedro Camargo.
The new catalysts can be widely deployed in the production of e.g. fuels, fertilisers, or polymers. The catalysts will even help us solve environmental problems, since they can even be applied for utilising carbon dioxide as a raw material.
From basic research to applications within the chemical industries
Camargo’s research group Nanomaterials for Plasmonics and Nanocatalysis is developing and testing new nanoparticles with different components, which besides being assembled from gold and silver also include other catalytic metals.
– We are carrying out basic research at the moment, but in future we will be able to make applications in cooperation with the industries, says Camargo.
Camargo describes the research phase going on now in the laboratory: Nanoparticles are created in a solution; they produce a suspension, i.e. the liquid contains solids. Then the nanoparticles are extracted and analysed with various instruments. The nanoparticles with more surface area are especially interesting.
Camargo, who entered the post of professor in inorganic chemistry in February 2019, established the research group on nanomaterials for plasmonic and nanocatalysts, which will expand during summer 2019 as new researchers are recruited to the project: Open positions.
Professor Pedro Camargo, Nanomaterials for Plasmonics and Nanocatalysis, University of Helsinki