September 17, 2021

Pavol Mikolaj – ESR 3

Pavol Mikolaj is a graduate of Chemical Technologies at the Slovak University of Technology, with experience of heterogeneous catalysis research. His scientific background includes the study of ZSM-5 zeolite catalyst recrystallization and as well as its nano-crystal variant for bio-oil conversion and high-flux zeolite membrane fabrication conducted at Luleå University of Technology, Sweden. His experience in practical field includes optimizing the control of cooling water systems in SLOVNAFT refinery, Slovakia, as well as an internship as a chemical technician at stainless steel finishing plant Voestalpine BÖHLER Bleche in Austria.

Research Project
Influence of oxygen content on the catalytic activity of gas phase mono-and bi-metallic clusters for green CO2 hydrogenation

As part of this project, I will employ gas phase clusters as model systems to study the fundamental driving forces that determine the catalytic and reactive properties of these clusters as well as to gain a molecular level insight into the reaction mechanism. The main advantage of this free cluster approach is the possibility to exactly control the cluster size (< 50 atoms), the metal to oxygen ratio as well as the ratio between different metals. We will start the project by producing mono-metal-oxide clusters such as CuxOy+ and studying their reactive and catalytic properties as a function of the clusters size and the metal-to-oxygen ratio. In the second step, we aim to introduce a heterometal atom to tune and optimize the chemical properties of the clusters. The reactive properties of the clusters will be investigated by using ion-trap mass-spectrometry to isolate reaction intermediates and study reaction kinetics. In addition, we aim to employ infrared multiple photon dissociation spectroscopy (IR-MPD; in collaboration with J. Bakker, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands) as a powerful tool for gaining information on the cluster geometry and the activation of molecules on the clusters. These experimental studies will be supported by theoretical simulations (in collaboration with T. Höltzl, Furukawa Electric Institute of Technology, Hungary) to gain atomistic level insight into the reaction mechanism.