PhD student Rik Mom wins Michel Cantarel Grant



PhD student Rik Mom has been awarded the Michel Cantarel grant by the French Vacuum Society (SFV). At the European Conference on Surface Science he gave a prize-winning talk on the subject of his PhD research, making him one of five award winners. During his PhD research, Mom images catalysts at the atomic scale while they are operating in chemical reactions. Performing such studies under realistic conditions is essential. ‘Atomic scale studies on catalysts are often done in ultrahigh-vacuum and at low temperatures,’ he says. ‘This is not representative of real-life processes, which happen under pressures of 1 to 100 bar and at temperatures between 100 and 400 °C.’

To obtain results that are useful for real applications, Mom studies nanoparticle catalysts in chemical reactions at 1 bar and 250 °C, as he explained in his talk. In an effort to also improve the realism in the model catalyst that is used in the studies, he published a paper in The Journal of Physical Chemistry C on his successful attempt to control the preparation of complex, realistic model catalysts.