Porous silicon / noble metal nanocomposites for catalytic applications

  • Sergej Polisski

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Today, bulk silicon is one of the best studied semiconductors. However, in its different nano-modifications, e.g. as porous silicon, totally new properties are exhibited. Despite the fact, that porous silicon is widely known and has been extensively studied since the 1990s, many unique features of this material are still unexplored.In this work, specific functionalities of porous silicon prepared, utilising both solid (via electrochemical or stain etching processes) and gas phase (from silane) syntheses, were investigated. Since this study was in-part industry oriented, the emphasis has been placed upon the investigation of porous silicon nanostructures, made from low cost metallurgical grade polycrystalline silicon powder. It has been previously demonstrated that porous silicon exhibits a very large, hydrogenated internal surface area (up to 500 m2 g−1). It is verified in this work, that · morphological properties of this material result in a high reductive potential of its internal surface due to hydrogen passivation. Therefore, in this thesis, we would like to show that porous silicon-based reactive templates are promising for their applications in nanometal-supported catalysis.We used salts of platinum, gold, palladium, silver and their mixtures, which were reduced on the silicon nanocrystalline internal surface, resulting in formation of metal nanoparticles embedded into porous silicon matrix. Various experimental techniques were used to evaluate the morphology, size and composition of metal nanoparticles, as well as their growth rates. Hydrogen effusion experiments proved the crucial difference between porous silicon and other chemically inert supporting templates for the process of metal nanoparticles formation.The catalytic activity of the synthesised materials was evaluated in gas phase conversion of CO to CO2. Furthermore, the new porous silicon-based catalysts were tested in gas/liquid phase reactions as well, using hydrogenation, oxidation, dehalogenation and C-C coupling class reactions. Following the trends of “state of the art” current Si technology, we present the design of the developed flow microreactor, based on patterned Si wafer, which can be implemented in future work to catalyse selected reactions.Results obtained in this work suggest that porous silicon matrices are promising supports for metal nanoparticle based catalysis.
Date of Award1 Sept 2010
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorDmitry Kovalev (Supervisor) & Jonathan Knight (Supervisor)

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