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Lehigh leads at catalysis conference

Lehigh faculty, staff and collaborating researchers gave 16 oral and poster presentations - more than any other catalysis research group in the U.S. - at the 19th North American Catalysis Society Meeting in late May in Philadelphia.

The Lehigh group, which includes U.S. and international researchers, is led by Israel Wachs, the G. Whitney Snyder Professor of chemical engineering and director of the Operando Molecular Spectroscopy and Catalysis Research Lab at Lehigh.

Wachs said the meeting gave his group the opportunity to discuss new cutting-edge catalysis research capabilities, including optical spectroscopic
methods of Raman, infrared and UV-Vis, that the group has developed.

Lehigh's catalysis lab, said Wachs, emphasizes in situ molecular spectroscopic characterization under realistic reaction conditions. This capability is allowing researchers for the first time to molecularly engineer catalytically active surfaces on the nanoscale, and to gain a fundamental insights into many catalytic applications that had been poorly or incorrectly understood.

At the meeting, Miguel A. Banares of the Institute of Catalysis and Petroleum Chemistry at the University of Cantoblanco in Madrid, gave the plenary lecture, in which he discussed how Operando Raman Methodology combines reaction in situ spectroscopy and activity measurement in a single experiment.

Michael S. Wong, a professor of chemical engineering at Rice University and another member of the Lehigh catalysis group, gave a presentation on nanotechnology in catalysis, in which he discussed nanoparticle-supported Wox/ZrO2 and the role of polytungstates in methanol dehydration.

Wachs also gave a presentation on nanotechnology in catalysis, discussing the tuning of electronic and molecular structures of catalytic active sites with oxide support nanoligands.

Other poster and paper authors and presenters included Sukwon Choi, who received a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Lehigh and is now a research scientist here; Lawrence Murrell, also a research scientist; Xiang Wang, a research associate; and graduate students Hanjing Tian, Chunli Zhao, Zhen Zhao, Elizabeth Ross, Taejin Kim, and Edward Lee.

Posted on Friday, July 01, 2005

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