Unravelling the mysteries of solar steam nanobubbles
Recently it was reported that illuminating a dispersion of gold nanoparticles in water with sun or laser light results in the formation of a layer of vapor (or ‘nanobubble’) around the particles. This nanobubble exhibits temperatures well above 100°C and pressures up to ~15 atm.  While partners of the University of Twente and TNO Eindhoven are exploring the fundamentals of nanobubble formation by a number of techniques, my project focuses on trying to use the vapor layer as nanoreactor for Aqueous Phase Reforming (APR), circumventing the need for externally applied high temperature and pressure and instead only using sunlight.
APR involves the conversion of biomass-derived alcohols into H2 and CO2.  However, APR is not catalyzed by gold, but by platinum and/or nickel. Therefore, my project will focus on synthesizing gold nanoparticles (NPs) between 5 and 100 nm coated with a thin oxide layer (1-5 nm) which will both prevent the gold NPs from aggregation and function as a support for the catalyst. An advantage of this approach is the possibility to use the abovementioned particles for SHINERS, Shell-Isolated Nanoparticle-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy , a technique closely related to Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS). Consequently, the effect of gold NP shape and size and the nature/thickness of the oxide layer on the formation of the nanobubble, the catalysis and the enhanced Raman signal by the presence of hotspots will be investigated.
Figure 1: left: Shell-Isolated Nanoparticle, SHIN, of a gold particle coated with a thin oxide layer (silica, titania, zirconia, niobia) on which the Pt or Ni catalyst is deposited; right: APR reactor loaded with SHINs in aqueous solution and a biomass-derived substrate. Laser light is guided into the reactor to induce heating, catalytic reactions and/or vibrational measurements by SHINERS or ATR-IR.
PhD research under supervision of prof.dr.ir. Bert Weckhuysen
5-month Internship at the University of Seville/Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Sevilla
Project: Mixed oxides of titanium and niobium and their catalytic applications
Master’s degree Nanomaterials: Chemistry and Physics, Utrecht University, cum laude
Thesis: The effect of water on methanol-to-olefins reactions studied by advanced in situ microspectroscopy. Conducted at the Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis group under supervision of dr.ir. Javier Ruiz-Martínez and prof.dr.ir. Bert Weckhuysen
Award for second best poster at the 2013 PAC symposium in Amsterdam
Award for best poster at NCCC XIV in Noordwijkerhout, 2013
Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, Utrecht University
Thesis: Self-assembly of heteronanorods. Conducted at the Condensed Matter and Interfaces Group.
41st Dr. Bessie Lawrence International Summer Science Institute, Rehovot, Israel
Project: Ring-walking of Ni, Pd and Pt on organometallic compounds
Gymnasium, CSW Elzenlaan/Van de Perre, Middelburg, the Netherlands
Born in Vlissingen, the Netherlands
ChemPhysChem, 19 (19), pp. 2461-2467, 2018, (cited By 1).
ACS Catalysis, 6 (3), pp. 1991-2002, 2016, (cited By 26).
Surface- and Tip-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy in Catalysis Journal Article
Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 7 (8), pp. 1570-1584, 2016, (cited By 48).