The seminar series is designed to bring world-class researchers and experts in the field of green chemistry to the University of Toronto, so that they may share their experiences and ideas with the students and faculty here in the Department of Chemistry and with the university as a whole. The GCI strives to organize a balanced seminar program that highlights green chemistry principles and advances in all of the sub-disciplines of chemistry, from both academic and industrial perspectives.
Pulsed Laser Ablation in liquids (PLAL) is a relatively (1990s) new technique to prepare nanoparticles. It relies on the interaction between a focused pulsed laser beam and a metal target immersed in a solution to generate nanoparticles without the need for chemical reducing agents or surfactants. As opposed to conventional methods, PLAL uses far less chemicals and gives nanoparticles with a pristine surface. It allows the preparation of monometallic nanoparticles, alloys and even complex materials such as high entropy alloys. These nanoparticles have been used for a variety of applications, ranging from MRI contrast agents to electrocatalysts and including nail polish! In our group, we are investigating the properties of the nanoparticles prepared by this technique for various applications, such as the electrochemical reduction of CO2 or the oxidation of aqueous pollutants. In today’s presentation, you will be introduced to PLAL itself, some of the key parameters of the technique and the advantages of using nanoparticles as electrocatalysts. The presentation will also cover some of our recent work. For a CO2 electroconversionproject, we prepared bismuth nanoparticles by PLAL and used them in a custom, 3D printed, gas phase electrolyzer that converts CO2 to formate. The reaction can be carried out in either 0.5Mbicarbonatebuffer or in artificial seawater. Finally, we will talk about urea oxidation, and how it could be used in aCO2 electrolyzer to get rid of two pollutants at the same time.
Erwan Bertin is an assistant professor at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, NS. He obtained a B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of Sherbrooke in 2009.He continued his studies under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Guay at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique-Énergie, Matériaux et Télécommunications on the synthesis of Pt(100) nanostructures and their catalytic properties. He was awarded his Ph.D.in February 2016. He then worked at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (Gaithersburg, MD) until December 2016. In 2017, he received the Humboldt fellowship and moved to the University of Duisburg-Essen. From January 2018 to June 2019, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Calgary working in the group of Dr. Birss on new catalysts for CO2 electroreduction.
Zoom Link: https://utoronto.zoom.us/j/83676625060 (Passcode:202302)
Check out his research here