Kristiaan Helfferich

PhD Candidate
Employed since: March 2020
Room: 4th floor, open office



Fundamental study of bimetallic catalyst preparation

Heterogeneous catalysts are indispensable for the efficient production of chemicals and fuels. These catalysts typically comprise of metal nanoparticles that are stabilized on a support. The type of metal and the size and morphology of nanoparticles highly influence catalyst performance with regards to stability, activity and selectivity towards the final product(s).

Bimetallic catalysts exhibit uniquely different properties compared to their monometallic counterparts. Also, increasing the amount of one metal over the other allows for a certain sense of tunability which may be used to tailor catalyst performance for a certain reaction. It is therefore interesting to learn more about how bimetallic catalysts can be prepared and how a synthesis procedure influences the nanoparticles formed. Hence, the aim of my project is to elucidate the fundamentals of bimetallic catalyst preparation throughout different synthesis stages for hydrogenation catalysts. In-situ electron microscopy is the core characterization technique with this project.



Further reading;

Prieto, G., Zečević, J., Friedrich, H. et al. Towards stable catalysts by controlling collective properties of supported metal nanoparticles. Nature Mater 12, 34–39 (2013).



2020 – present

PhD candidate at Utrecht University; studying the fundamentals of Pd-Ni catalyst preparation using electron microscopy

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Petra E. de Jongh



Master Nanomaterials Science: Chemistry and Physics at Utrecht University. Master thesis research in the group of Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis to Cu2-xS nanoparticles for CO2 electroreduction.

Supervisors: Christa van Oversteeg, Prof. Dr. Petra E. de Jongh

Internship: Johnson Matthey Technology Centre (Sonning Common, UK)


2014 – 2017

Bachelor Chemistry at Utrecht University

Bachelor thesis: hydroxymethylfurfural partition in pickering emulsions

Supervisors: Carolien Vis, Prof. Dr. Pieter C.A. Bruijnincx