Research Activities

The Center is proud to have a strong collaborative relationship with Unicat (Unifying Concepts in Catalysis) in Berlin, Germany. Click here to read about the recent experiences of our latest research exchange, Fabian Schax.

The Center's primary research activities includes the following:

Institute for Atom-efficient Chemical Transformations
The IACT, an Energy Frontier Research Center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, will use a multidisciplinary approach to address key catalytic conversions that could improve the efficiency of producing fuels from coal and biomass. IACT will focus on advancing the science of catalysis for the efficient conversion of energy resources into usable forms. IACT’s goal is to find ways to achieve control and efficiency of chemical conversions comparable to those in nature.

Institute for Catalysis in Energy Processes
The Institute for Catalysis in Energy Processes (ICEP) is composed of a number of collaborative research efforts between the Northwestern University Center for Catalysis and Surface Science and Argonne National Laboratory. The overall scientific goals of ICEP are to understand at the molecular level catalytic and photocatalytic transformations relevant to energy harvesting, storage, and utilization and to further the discovery and development of highly efficient catalytic and photocatalytic processes

Latest Research Results Click to view our latest results for our research projects.

Industrial Affiliates Program
Companies pay an annual fee to become members of the Center's Industrial Affiliates Program. This program offers on-site short courses by Center faculty, an Annual Scientific Meeting, preferred access to Center research results via a semi-annual newsletter and an Annual Report. This program is the major source of discretionary funds for the Center.  The current members are Albemarle Catalysts, Dow Chemical, Shell Chemical and UOP LLC.

Annual Scientific Meeting
Each year in September the Center organizes a one-day meeting with lectures focused on a particular topic in catalysis and a poster session highlighting research in the Center.  This meeting provides a forum for contact between graduate students and postdocs and industrial researchers.

Catalysis and Surface Science Seminar Series
A weekly lunch-time seminar on Fridays. The speakers include a mixture of visitors from outside the university as well as graduate students and postdoctoral researchers working on Center projects.

Seed Funding of Research
Center members can apply for small grants to initiate novel, high-risk research projects in catalysis.  The source of these funds is the Center discretionary account funded by the Industrial Affiliates Program. The members of the Industrial Affiliates Program act as reviewers for Seed Funding proposals submitted by Center members. 

Center Facilities
The Center has many modern instruments of surface science and catalysis as well as local access to the analytical facilities of affiliated Centers and departments.

Our CleanCat Facility is a University recognized recharge center dedicated to advancing the understanding of the catalytic function of materials for environmental and energy processes. Please review our brochure for more detailed information and let our facility manager Neil Schweitzer know if you would like to arrange a tour or discuss how the facility can help your research activities.

V. N. Ipatieff Lectureship
The Center sponsors a one-month visit by a distinguished researcher in catalysis.  The Ipatieff Lecturer delivers several lectures on campus and for the local section of the North American Catalysis Society. The Ipatieff Lecturer may work intensively with one research group in the Center or interact with several groups in order to provide an opportunity for students and postdocs to have an extended interaction with an internationally recognized scientist.

Current research can be grouped into the following areas:

Characterization of active sites on solid surfaces and of reaction intermediates;
Interaction of metals with oxides, in particular zeolites, and other promoter effects;
Selectivity of advanced oxidation catalysis;
Environmental catalysis directed toward destruction of gaseous pollutants.

Joint research is conducted in both heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis and related surface science. In addition to allowing faculty members to approach significant problems from the perspective of several disciplines and to have access to modern experimental and computational research facilities, the Center provides a coordinated educational program for graduate and postdoctoral students.


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