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Catalysis takes center stage at chemistry conference
Date:8/19/2008

ir of Materials Chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin and founding director of PNNL's Institute for Interfacial Catalysis, passed away unexpectedly on August 31, 2007. White was internationally recognized as a pioneer in many areas of surface chemistry, catalysis, the dynamics of surface reactions, and light-stimulated surface reactions. White had published more than 700 research papers in a career that spanned more than four decades.

The three day symposium, organized by PNNL's Henderson, University of Minnesota's Xiaoyang Zhu, and Lehigh University's Bruce Koel, features 32 presentations by White's former students and post-docs, colleagues from University of Texas at Austin and PNNL, and other researchers who worked with White during his career.

PNNL presentations will also highlight advances in other areas of catalysis, including understanding reactions on the surfaces of titanium dioxide, a material with applications including solar cells and wastewater treatment, and gamma-alumina, which has the potential to increase transportation energy efficiency.

Understanding how catalytic processes work is critical to unlocking a variety of potential applications, said Chuck Peden, interim director of PNNL's Institute for Interfacial Catalysis. "For example, there are a very large number of applications involving catalysis that utilize alumina as the catalyst support material."

Alumina is a common and relatively inexpensive catalyst support material. Its surface structure and catalytic properties have been the subject of much research, but its small particle size and low crystallinity have made it very difficult to study these properties, said Peden. Researchers at PNNL used the world's first 900-MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer to reveal how barium oxide, which can absorb toxic nitrogen oxide emissions, attaches itself to the surface of gamma-alumina. A number of different presentations will highlight research on alum
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Contact: Mary Beckman
mary.beckman@pnl.gov
509-375-3688
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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