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Maria Chiara Spadaro, Speaker at Speaker for Catalysis Conference- Maria Chiara Spadaro
Swansea University, United Kingdom
Title : Controlled generation of binary nanoparticles for catalysis research


Heterogeneous and electrochemical catalysis is a diverse area of research that finds applications in clean energy technology and the reduction of environmental pollution. Among many metals, the current best catalysts typically rely on critical materials, such as platinum (Pt). As per the EU list of critical raw materials for 20171, Pt needs to be reduced/replaced with abundant materials. Here we present our results on the study of precision nanoalloy particles with the ultimate objective of Pt reduction. 
Pt-Cu bimetallic clusters have been produced via gas phase, ligand-free synthesis; in particular we used two new generation cluster sources: the multiple ions cluster source (MICS)2 and the matrix assembly cluster source (MACS)3. The conventional magnetron-based cluster source is based on the sputtering of a single pure or alloy target under vacuum conditions with subsequent cluster aggregation via further collision with the aggregation gas. In the MICS the single magnetron is replaced with three independent magnetrons allowing the production of a wide range of nanoalloy clusters starting from pure targets. The great advantage of this source is the possibility to growth a wide range of samples via the controlled sputtering of pure targets, controlling both their structure (alloys, [email protected] and [email protected]) and composition by changing the mutual magnetron positions as well as their sputtering rate. For the present study we deposited binary Pt-Cu clusters with the same size and compositions, but different structures: alloy, [email protected] and [email protected], in order to investigate the effect of the nanostructures on gas-phase catalytic and electro catalytic performance.


Dr Maria Chiara Spadaro got her PhD in Physics and Nanosciences at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia at the beginning of 2016, working on NPs created with magnetron-based nanocluster source and characterizing them using TEM-related techniques. Her research experience is focused on the synthesis and study of nanoscale materials, including analysis of chemical and structural properties of nanostructures, surfaces and interfaces. 
Her PhD work led to the award in electron microscopy applied to material science in 2016, from the Italian Society of Microscopic Science (SISM).
After postdoctoral appointments at the international center of electron microscopy (CIME) of EPFL, Lausanne, and at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, she moved to the Swansea University joining the Prof. Palmer’s group, to work on the synthesis, with novel techniques, and characterization of binary NPs of interest in catalysis.