University-Industry-Government Institute Will Study Pollution Control Chemistry In A Unique Virtual Collaboration

expects institute researchers to be heavy users of Argonne's Advanced Photon Source, which is capable of producing the world's most brilliant X-ray beams.

"It's always harder to study chemistry on a surface, where most catalysis occurs, than in a bulk material," Stair said. "The great brilliance of the APS X-rays not only lets us probe the atomic structure of solid surfaces, but actually allows us to examine the complex changes that occur at the surface of a catalyst during the course of a chemical reaction."

In addition to its research mission, the institute will train scientists and engineers in state-of-the-art catalysis techniques and educate the public about the role of catalysis in manufacturing and environmental protection. One third of the institute's funding will support education, including faculty time for developing courses and K12 community outreach. According to Kimberly Gray, co-director of the institute, who will also oversee education programs, the institute plans to provide Chicago public school students hands-on experience with catalysis through a program at Argonne.

"We plan to develop a new, interdisciplinary curriculum in environmental molecular science, and to develop instructional materials as well," said Gray, who is associate professor of civil engineering in Northwestern's Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. The institute will host workshops for practicing engineers and industrial scientists and bring them together with academic researchers, she said.

A new direction in catalysis research, Gray said, is to combine traditional chemical catalysis with the newer area of "biocatalysis."

"This coupling happens in nature all the time, and we hope to be able to adapt these processes to produce chemicals with greater economic and environmental efficiency."


Contact: Bill Burton
(847) 491-3115
Northwestern University

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