Jens K. Norskov, Leland T. Edwards Professor of Chemical Engineering and the Director of the SUNCAT Center for Interface Science and Catalysis at SLAC and Stanford University, visited DICP on May 26-30. Prof. Norskov was invited as the recipient of the Zhang Dayu Lectureship, which is the most prestigious lectureship at DICP. The lectureship is given to outstanding scientists in commemoration of the contributions of Prof. Dayu Zhang, the founder of DICP and pioneer of catalysis science in China.
“A Theory of Transition Metal Heterogeneous Catalysis” in the conference room of the Basic Energy Science Building on the DICP campus. Prof. Can Li hosted the lectureand delivered a welcome speech on behalf of DICP. Prof. Zhang Tao, the Director of DICP, was present to award a certificate and grant Prof. Norskov an Honorary Professorship at DICP, which is part of the Zhang Dayu Lectureship award.
During his lecture, Prof. Norskov emphasized that many of the challenges in heterogeneous catalysis lay in the fields of energy and the environment, and he proposed that theoretical calculations are a powerful tool in predicting catalysts performance and designing novel processes. He introduced the descriptors of heterogeneous catalysts: the d-band model, scaling relation, BEP relations, and the reactivity volcano curve method. He explained,in detail,how these parameters/relations help correlate the electronic structure of the catalysts to the reactivity using model reactions, such as the ammonia synthesis reaction and carbon dioxide hydrogenation. He expressed that scaling relations are common place, but that efforts should be made, such as employing multi-site surfaces, introducing confinement effects, performing electrolyte engineering and using functionalized ligands, to find strategies to circumvent scaling and achieve optimum reactivity. Algorithms for evaluating the accuracy of certain calculation methods were also presented.
Over 150 researchers were in attendance, and following the lecture, Prof. Norskov led a discussion session covering fundamentals and applications with post-docs at the institute. Prof. Norskov stayed several days and had in-depth discussions with faculty and staff at DICP.
Prof. Norskov is a pioneer in understanding trends in catalyst activity and developing catalyst design principles based on reactivity descriptors. He and his co-workers have contributed extensively to the development of computational methods and models of surface reactivity. Prof. Norskov has introduced a standard model of transition metal reactivity, which has been used to successfully explain trends in adsorption and activation energies of elementary processes on transition metal catalysts. Prof. Norskov has quantified the Bronsted-Evans-Polanyi (BEP) relations and showed how they lead to predictive models that relate catalytic reactivity to adsorption energies of key relevant species. Most recently, his research group has introduced the first database of surface chemical properties and developed publicly available software to access and mine thermodynamic and catalytic data on active surfaces, thus opening up novel opportunities for exploring trends and designing new catalysts and process.