Abhaya Datye is the recipient of the 2019 Robert Burwell Lectureship in Catalysis

Abhaya Datye

I am pleased to announce that Pro­fes­sor Abhaya Datye of the Uni­ver­si­ty of New Mex­i­co is the recip­i­ent of the 2019 Robert Bur­well Lec­ture­ship in Catal­y­sis, spon­sored by John­son Matthey and admin­is­tered by the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety. It is award­ed bien­ni­al­ly in odd-num­bered years. The award con­sists of a plaque and an hon­o­rar­i­um of $5,000, which will be pre­sent­ed at the award ban­quet at the NAM26 Chica­go meet­ing. An addi­tion­al $4,500 is avail­able to cov­er trav­el­ling expens­es in North Amer­i­ca. The awardee is expect­ed to lec­ture at many of the local catal­y­sis clubs.

The Robert Bur­well Lec­ture­ship in Catal­y­sis is giv­en in recog­ni­tion of sub­stan­tial con­tri­bu­tions to one or more areas in the field of catal­y­sis with empha­sis on dis­cov­ery and under­stand­ing of cat­alyt­ic phe­nom­e­na, cat­alyt­ic reac­tion mech­a­nisms and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and descrip­tion of cat­alyt­ic sites and species. The awardee is select­ed on the basis of his/her con­tri­bu­tions to the cat­alyt­ic lit­er­a­ture and the cur­rent time­li­ness of these research con­tri­bu­tions. The recip­i­ent may be invit­ed to (1) vis­it and lec­ture to each of the affil­i­at­ed Clubs/Societies with which mutu­al­ly sat­is­fac­to­ry arrange­ments can be made and (2) pre­pare a review paper(s) for pub­li­ca­tion cov­er­ing these lec­tures. Pub­li­ca­tion will be in an appro­pri­ate peri­od­i­cal.

Pro­fes­sor Abhaya Datye and his research group have per­formed ele­gant and cre­ative exper­i­ments that have clar­i­fied rela­tion­ships between the atom­ic-lev­el struc­ture of het­ero­ge­neous cat­a­lysts and their reac­tiv­i­ty and/or sta­bil­i­ty. He has intro­duced new approach­es to doing catal­y­sis research (e.g., mod­el cat­a­lysts and sam­ple prepa­ra­tion tech­niques) that enabled the use of elec­tron microscopy to study indus­tri­al­ly rel­e­vant cat­a­lysts. He thus elu­ci­dat­ed impor­tant fun­da­men­tal con­cepts that are cru­cial for design­ing cat­a­lysts for improved per­for­mance. He showed how cat­alyt­ic activ­i­ty is enhanced due to oxi­da­tion-induced rough­en­ing of met­al sur­faces in nanopar­ti­cles, and how phase trans­for­ma­tions in Fe Fis­ch­er-Trop­sch cat­a­lysts can cause cat­a­lyst attri­tion. A major con­tri­bu­tion was the use of elec­tron microscopy and sin­ter­ing rate equa­tions to uncov­er atom­ic-scale mech­a­nisms of cat­a­lyst sin­ter­ing. Recent­ly, his group described a method for gen­er­at­ing sta­ble monomer­ic Pt species on the sur­faces of a ceria sup­port, termed atom trap­ping. In this work, high tem­per­a­tures, which nor­mal­ly destroy cat­a­lysts, enable the syn­the­sis of ther­mal­ly sta­ble sin­gle atom cat­a­lysts (SACs). By study­ing the trap­ping of mobile atoms on the sup­port, his group has improved our fun­da­men­tal under­stand­ing of cat­a­lyst regen­er­a­tion. These insights have led to many cre­ative ideas for new sin­ter-resis­tant cat­a­lyst mate­ri­als that have great indus­tri­al rel­e­vance.