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Self-propagating mechanosynthesis of HfB2 nanoparticles by a magnesiothermic reaction

Jalaly, M; Gotor, FJ; Sayagues, MJ
Journal of the American Ceramic Society, 101 (2018) 1412-1419


A mechanically induced self-sustaining reaction (MSR) was used to synthesize hafnium diboride nanoparticles. Along this route, magnesium was selected as a robust reducing agent for co-reduction in boron and hafnium oxides in a combustive manner. Combustion occurred after a short milling period of 12 minutes. The hafnium diboride nanoparticles had a polygonal faceted morphology and were 50-250 nm in diameter. The assessment of the processing mechanism revealed that the initial combustive reduction in B2O3 to elemental B by Mg was the major step for progressing the overall reaction. After that, HfO2 can be reduced to elemental Hf, followed by the synthesis of HfB2 phase.

Abril, 2018 | DOI: 10.1111/jace.15297

Silver-modified ZnO highly UV-photoactive

Jaramillo-Páez, C.; Navío, J.C.; Hidalgo, M.C.
Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry, 356 (2018) 112-122


ZnO nanoparticles were successfully synthesized by a controlled precipitation procedure by mixing aqueous solutions of Zn(II) acetate and dissolved Na2CO3 at pH ca. 7.0 without template addition and ulterior calcination at 400 °C for 2 h. The Ag-ZnO catalysts (ranging from 0.5 to 10 Ag wt.-%) were obtained by photochemical deposition method at the surface of the prepared ZnO sample, using AgNO3 as precursor. The as-prepared catalysts (with and without silver) were characterized by XRD, BET, FE-SEM, TEM, and XPS and diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS). The effect of Ag-phodeposition on the photocatalytic properties of ZnO nanoparticles was investigated. Three different probe molecules were used to evaluate the photocatalytic properties under UV-illumination and visible illumination: Methyl Orange and Rhodamine B were chosen as hazardous dyes and Phenol as a transparent substrate. For each of the chosen substrates, it was observed that the UV-photocatalytic properties of ZnO improved with the amount of Ag deposited, up to an optimum percentage around 1–5 wt.-% Ag, being even better than the commercial Evonik-TiO2(P25) in the same conditions. Above this amount, the UV-photocatalytic properties of the Ag-ZnO samples remain unchanged, indicating a maximum for Ag-deposition. While ZnO and Ag-ZnO catalysts can photodegrade Rhodamine B, Methyl Orange and Phenol totally within 60 min under UV-illumination, the process is slightly faster for the case of Ag–ZnO nanoparticles. Under Vis-illumination, the silver-metalized samples did not present photocatalytic activity in the degradation of Methyl Orange. However, a very low photoactivity was present for phenol degradation (10% conversion) and a moderate conversion of ca. 70% for Rhodamine B degradation, after 120 min of Visible-illumination. High conversion values and a total organic carbon (TOC) removal of 86–97% were obtained over the Ag-ZnO photocatalysts after 120 min of UV-illumination, suggesting that these Ag-modified ZnO nanoparticles may have good applications in wastewater treatment, due to its reuse properties.

Abril, 2018 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jphotochem.2017.12.044

Tailoring structured WGS catalysts: Impact of multilayered concept on the water surface interactions

Gonzalez-Castano, M; Le Sache, E; Ivanova, S; Romero-Sarria, F; Centeno, MA; Odriozola, JA
Applied Catalysis B-Environmental, 222 (2018) 124-132


A novel multilayer approach for designing structured WGS catalyst is employed in this study as a response to the lack of new strategies in the literature. The approach proposes the use of two successive layers with different functionalities on metallic micromonolith substrate. The WGS catalyst behavior is modulated by the nature of the inner layer which determines the active species surface population by acting on the water activation step. The catalytic promotion attained by introducing inner ceria containing solids with increasing number of oxygen defects is intensely analyzed through FT-IR and H2O-TPD. Several evidences about the participation of the oxygen vacancies, as key sites, for water absorption processes are established. Besides, remarkable relationships between the water absorption strengths and the water splitting processes within their influence on the catalyst performance are also discussed.

Marzo, 2018 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apcatb.2017.10.018

Robust polarization active nanostructured 1D Bragg Microcavities as optofluidic label-free refractive index sensor

Oliva-Ramirez, M; Gil-Rostra, J; Yubero, F; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR
Sensors and Actuators B-Chemical, 256 (2018) 590-599


In this work we report the use of polarization active porous 1D Bragg microcavities (BM) prepared by physical vapor deposition at oblique angles for the optofluidic analysis of liquid solutions. These photonic structures consist of a series of stacked highly porous layers of two materials with different refractive indices and high birefringence. Their operational principle implies filling the pores with the analyzed liquid while monitoring with linearly polarized light the associated changes in optical response as a function of the solution refractive index. The response of both polarization active and inactive BMs as optofluidic sensors for the determination of glucose concentration in water solutions has been systematically compared. Different methods of detection, including monitoring the BM wave retarder behavior, are critically compared for both low and high glucose concentrations. Data are taken in transmission and reflection modes and different options explored to prove the incorporation of these nanostructured transducers into microfluidic systems and/or onto the tip of an optical fiber. This analysis has proven the advantages of the polarization active transducer sensors for the optofluidic analysis of liquids and their robustness even in the presence of light source instabilities or misalignments of the optical system used for detection.

Marzo, 2018 | DOI: 10.1016/j.snb.2017.10.060

Synthesis of Pd-Al/biomorphic carbon catalysts using cellulose as carbon precursor

Cazana, F; Galetti, A; Meyer, C; Sebastian, V; Centeno, MA; Romeo, E; Monzon, A
Catalysis Today, 301 (2018) 226-238


This work presents the results obtained with novel Pd and Pd-Al catalysts supported on carbon, which have been prepared using a biomorphic mineralization technique. The catalyst synthesis procedure includes a stage of thermal decomposition under reductive atmosphere of cellulose previously impregnated with the metallic precursors. We have studied the influence of the temperature and time of decomposition, and of the Al precursor addition, on the textural and catalytic properties. The characterisation results indicate that the preparation method used leads to the formation of carbonaceous supports with a high microporosity (up to 97% micropore volume) and values of the BET surface up to 470 m2/g while maintaining the original external structure. The use of low temperatures (ca. 600 °C) during the decomposition step allows the preparation of highly dispersed catalysts with narrow Pd particle size distributions. However, the thermal decomposition at elevated temperatures (ca. 800 °C) increases the Pd particle size due to the sintering of the metallic phase. This phenomenon is augmented with the decomposition time and is not affected by the presence of Al. Consequently, the catalytic activity of these materials in cyclohexene hydrogenation is strongly affected by the operational conditions used during the thermal decomposition step. Unexpectedly, the more sintered catalysts, i.e. those prepared at 800 °C, show the highest activity. According to the characterization results, this fact can be explained considering that the smaller Pd particles obtained after preparation at e.g. 600 °C are quite inactive because they are confined in the internal structure of the micropores of the support and/or embedded inside the carbon matrix. In contrast, after decomposition at 800 °C, the larger Pd particles formed are placed at the external surface of the catalyst, being accessible to the reactants. In addition, for the specific conditions under which the Pd is accessible, the presence of Al favours the cyclohexene conversion due to the enhancement of the adsorption on the Pd surface as a consequence of a charge transfer phenomenon. These results can serve as a guideline for the preparation of these catalysts based on raw lignocellulosic materials in order to maximize their catalytic performance.

Marzo, 2018 | DOI: 10.1016/j.cattod.2017.05.026

Gold catalyst recycling study in base-free glucose oxidation reaction

Megias-Sayago, C.; Bobadilla, L. F.; Ivanova, S.; Penkova, A.; Centeno, M. A.; Odriozola, J. A.
Catalysis Today, 301 (2018) 72-77


This work is devoted to the study of viability of immobilized gold colloids on carbon as catalysts for the base-free glucose oxidation reaction with a special emphasis made on catalysts' recycling, operational life and possible routes for deactivation/reactivation under batch conditions. The observed catalytic behavior is related to all possible manners of deactivation, like gold metal state changes (particle size agglomeration or leaching), support modifications or active sites blocking by intermediates. In an attempt to recover the initial catalytic activity, the samples are subjected to different treatments such as H2O and NaOH washings and calcination. The failure of the regeneration procedures to recover the initial activity and after detailed catalyst' characterization allows us to find out the main cause of deactivation

Marzo, 2018 | DOI: 10.1016/j.cattod.2017.03.022

High {0 0 1} faceted TiO2 nanoparticles for the valorization of oxygenated compounds present in aqueous biomass-derived feedstocks

Fernández-Arroyo, A.; Lara, M.A.; Domine, M.E.; Sayagués,M.J.; Navío, J.A.; Hidalgo, M.C.
Journal of Catalysis, 358 (2018) 266-276


{0 0 1} faceted TiO2 catalysts are hydrothermally synthesized by using titanium(IV) isopropoxide and butoxide precursors (ISO and BUT TiO2 samples) together with HF addition. Their activity and stability are evaluated in the catalytic condensation of light oxygenated organic compounds present in an aqueous model mixture simulating a real bio-refinery effluent, under moderate operation conditions. High {0 0 1} faceted TiO2 catalysts show organic products yields superior to those attained with other TiO2 samples (anatase, rutile, and P25). This enhanced catalytic activity relates to their physico-chemical and textural properties, such as high surface area (≈100 m2/g), regular morphology (platelets conformed by partially agglomerated TiO2 nanoparticles), and adequate Lewis acidity. XRD and Raman measurements evidence the unique presence of anatase crystalline phase in both ISO and BUT materials, in which the use of HF during synthesis produces the preferential growth of TiO2 crystals mainly exposing the {0 0 1} plane. This effective {0 0 1} facet exposition directly determines catalytic results. Moreover, TiO2 ISO catalyst shows outstanding stability under reaction conditions, maintaining practically unaltered their activity after several re-uses. In particular, Lewis acid sites present in TiO2 faceted materials are more stable in the presence of organic acids under aqueous environments. This opens new possibilities for the application of these materials in the valorization of light oxygenated compounds present in biomass-derived aqueous effluents.

Febrero, 2018 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jcat.2017.12.018

Calcium-Looping performance of mechanically modified Al2O3-CaO composites for energy storage and CO2 capture

Benitez-Guerrero, M; Valverde, JM; Sanchez-Jimenez, PE; Perejon, A; Perez-Maqueda, LA
Chemical Engineering Journal, 334 (2018) 2343-2355


This work reports the Calcium-Looping (CaL) multicycle performance under energy storage and CO2 capture conditions of different Al-composites prepared by milling mixtures of nanoalumina and natural limestone powders. The micro-and nanostructure of the composites have been analyzed by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy as affected by the type of CaL conditions employed, either for energy storage in Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plants or for post-combustion CO2 capture. Two types of calcium aluminates are formed under these diverse CaL conditions. A calcium aluminate with ratio Ca/Al < 1 (Ca4Al6O13) is formed under CaL-CSP conditions, which helps stabilize the CaO microstructure and mitigate pore-plugging. On the other hand, a crystalline phase Ca3Al2O6 is formed (Ca/Al > 1) under CaL-CO2 capture conditions presumably due to the higher calcination temperature, which withdraws from the sorbent a relatively higher amount of active Ca. Moreover, the addition of nano-alumina, and the consequent generation of calcium aluminate, affects in a diverse way the microstructure and morphology of the CaO particles as depending on the CaL application, which critically modifies the performance of the composites.

Febrero, 2018 | DOI: 10.1016/j.cej.2017.11.183

Phase-Contact Engineering in Mono- and Bimetallic Cu-Ni Co-catalysts for Hydrogen Photocatalytic Materials

Munoz-Batista, MJ; Meira, DM; Colon, G; Kubacka, A; Fernandez-Garcia, M
Angewandte Chemie-International Edition, 57 (2018) 1199-1203


Understanding how a photocatalyst modulates its oxidation state, size, and structure during a photocatalytic reaction under operando conditions is strongly limited by the mismatch between (catalyst) volume sampled by light and, to date, the physicochemical techniques and probes employed to study them. A synchrotron micro-beam X-ray absorption spectroscopy study together with the computational simulation and analysis (at the X-ray cell) of the light-matter interaction occurring in powdered TiO2-based monometallic Cu, Ni and bimetallic CuNi catalysts for hydrogen production from renewables was carried out. The combined information unveils an unexpected key catalytic role involving the phase contact between the reduced and oxidized non-noble metal phases in all catalysts and, additionally, reveals the source of the synergistic Cu-Ni interaction in the bimetallic material. The experimental method is applicable to operando studies of a wide variety of photocatalytic materials.

Enero, 2018 | DOI: 10.1002/anie.201709552

Enhanced photocatalytic removal of phenol from aqueous solutions using ZnO modified with Ag

Vaiano, V.; Matarangolo, M.; Murcia, J.J.; Rojas, H.; Navío, J.A.; Hidalgo, M.C.
Applied Catalysis B-Environmental, 225 (2018) 197-206


Different photocatalysts based on commercial ZnO modified by silver photodeposition were prepared in this work. The samples were characterized by X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF), specific surface area (SSA), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and UV–vis diffuse reflectance (UV–vis DRS). XRD and XPS showed that Ag/ZnO samples are composed of metallic Ag (Ag0) and ZnO structure was identified. Furthermore, TEM analysis evidenced that the number of silver particles increased with the Ag content. At last, UV–vis DRS results revealed a reflectance band for Ag/ZnO samples, ascribed to the surface plasmon resonance (SPR) absorption of metal silver particles. Commercial ZnO and Ag/ZnO samples were evaluated in the phenol removal under UV light irradiation. It was observed an enhancement of photocatalytic phenol removal from aqueous solutions by silver addition in comparison to commercial ZnO. In particular, the phenol removal increased with the silver content from 0.14 to 0.88 wt%, after this content (i.e 1.28 wt%) the phenol degradation significantly decreased indicating that the optimal Ag content was equal to 0.88 wt%. The influence of the best photocatalyst dosage and the change of the initial phenol concentration in solution were also investigated in this work and the best photocatalytic performance was obtained by using 50 mg L−1 of phenol initial concentration and 0.15 g L−1 of photocatalyst dosage. Finally, the optimized Ag/ZnO photocatalyst was employed for the treatment of a real drinking wastewater containing phenol in which the almost total phenol removal was achieved after 180 min of UV irradiation time.

Enero, 2018 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apcatb.2017.11.075