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Platinum Certified (catalysts, not records)

August 20, 2019
Antone Cruz
B.S. Chemical Engineering ‘22

I’m currently working in the Cargnello Lab with PhD student Angel Yang on synthesizing and testing Pt bimetallic alloys for catalysis in propane combustion. Most of my time in the lab is spent under a fume hood running reactions to prepare my nanoparticles. I have already learned more chemical techniques and procedures through four weeks in the lab than I did in a year of general and organic chemistry classes. I imagined my research would involve more trial and error science, but this experience has been more thorough and methodical. Before testing my catalysts, I’ve been slowly building up a library of alloys with different characteristics, rather than making and testing them one at a time. This experience has taught me the imperfections of lab science; it’s easy to read and understand a published recipe, but replicating it is another matter. Sometimes a solution doesn’t come up to temperature how you want it, sometimes you can’t get every last drop of water out of a silica support powder. Science isn’t about achieving perfection in every aspect of research, it’s about powering through your limitations and focusing on perfecting the most vital parts of your experiments. I’ve learned that I love chemistry because of its imperfections and unpredictability as a science, not despite them. My work involves particles nanometers in magnitude, but has impacted my outlook on chemistry greater than units can quantify.

Figure 1: monodisperse Pt/Cu bimetallic particles

Figure 2: Pt/Ni bimetallic particle network