Surface Chemistry and Catalysis Department

The current activities of the laboratory revolve around the experimental research of energetically efficient solutions for chemical transformations. Our main mission is the fundamental research of catalytic and surface processes relevant to current issues of renewable chemical energy storage, energy efficiency and protection of the environment. The Department in its current form was established upon the fusion of the Institute of Isotopes (IKI) and the Atomic Energy Research Institute (AEKI) as of 1st January 2012. Prior to the organizational changes the main research topic for decades has been the investigation of catalytic conversion of hydrocarbons on various catalyst samples primarily unsupported metal catalysts, later supported bimetallic species and finally using transition metal cluster samples. All this rooted from the application of radioactive tracers in catalysis.

Nowadays the personnel of the Department have skills in heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis, electrochemistry, surface manipulations and analysis, nano-sized systems, molecular spectroscopy and reaction kinetics. Our seniors participate in graduate or post-gradual (PhD) training as supervisors. The broad expertise of our staff has yielded several commissions from industrial partners including Paks Nuclear Power Plant, automotive companies and other parties. The rich thematic list of current research topics includes those with longer history:

· activation of C1 molecules (e.g. dry reforming of methane): structure and reactivity relationship of promoted (bi)metallic catalysts

· wet catalytic oxidation, waste water management

· supported (bi)metallic catalysts in selective oxidative transformations,

and more recent ones:

· water splitting electrocatalysis related to artificial photosynthesis

· self-assembled or fabricated electrode surfaces in relation with water splitting

· corrosion and other redox processes on metal surfaces.

Several new instruments have become available since 2012 (complete catalyst characterization system + QMS station, refurbished XPS with in-situ atmospheric pretreatment chamber, multi-purpose potentiostat, UV/VIS with remote DRA, ambient Kelvin Probe, FT-IR with DRIFT and environmental chamber, fiber optic Raman, high performance Xe lamp, etc.) that provide a solid hardware background for exploring new fields or extending the present ones. Besides the facilities of the Department,  other top level techniques are also available to us on  the KFKI Campus (e.g. Mössbauer and PGAA at the Budapest Neutron Centre, HR-TEM at the Thin Films Physics Department – MFA, EC-OWLS at the Nanobiosensorics “Lendület” Group - MFA) that yield fruitful combination of materials sciences with catalysis. Joint research activities include bilateral collaborations with the Italian National Research Council (CNR), Institute of Molecular Science and Technologies, Milano, Dipartimento di Chimica Inorganica Metallorganica e Analitica, Universita degli Studi di Milano and the Wrocław Medical University.

József Sándor Pap
Head of Department

The colleagues of the department