Development of catalysts that can run on sunlight receives 700.000 Euro backing from Jane

Prof. Pedro Camargo and Dr. John Quiroz

Prof. Pedro Camargo (left) and Dr. John Quiroz (right) showing the synthesis of Au nanoparticles in the newly established group focusing on nanomaterials for plasmonic and nanocatalysis at the University of Helsinki.

Photo:
Joel Grandell

The Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation has awarded Professor Pedro Camargo a three-year grant of 700.000 Euros for a research project developing a new kind of catalysts.

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.

More Information:

Professor Pedro Camargo, Nan­o­ma­ter­i­als for Plas­mon­ics and Nanocata­lysis, University of Helsinki

/Public Release. View in full here.