Chemical properties of quantum materials
Intermetallic compounds (IMCs) possessing a well-described crystal structure and defined chemical bonding are an interesting class of compounds from a chemical as well as physical point of view. Contrary to tremendous attention and valuable achievements in the study of physical properties of IMCs (e.g. mechanical, magnetic, electrical etc.), the knowledge about the chemical properties is scarce and hidden in the scientific literature. However, the development of materials based on IMCs for different applications is not feasible without understanding of the on-going chemistry.
The straightforward way to study the chemical behaviour of a compound is to expose it to the reaction conditions. At this point an extra benefit can be obtained, choosing the reactions of interest for catalysis and electrocatalysis. These fields offer plenty of chemical reactions which at the same time require effective and stable catalysts.
Within proposed project the long-standing expertise of the department in synthesis of IMCs and their comprehensive characterization using bulk- and partially surface-sensitive techniques will be combined with a reactor study of material for different type of chemical processes. The knowledge of crystal structure and chemical bonding, advanced insight into microstructure features should build the background for understanding of chemical behaviour under reaction conditions (see figure). The latter will be related towards catalytic performance (e.g. conversion, selectivity, activity) of the material. Such complementary investigation will enrich our fundamental knowledge about chemical properties of IMCs and give the hints for search, optimization and/or application of IMCs as catalyst material.