Summary of Activities/Interests
Professor McGinn's primary research interests are in the areas of the processing and properties of advanced materials. Current research programs are aimed at developing the processing tools and screening instrumentation for combinatorial materials development and discovery. The combinatorial approach to materials research employs parallel (or automated serial) processing to create large "libraries" of material compositions, followed by parallel (or automated serial) testing to characterize the compositions for a specific property of interest. Much of the potential of the combinatorial approach rests on the development of rapid means to screen libraries for a property of interest. Over the past several years his group has developed and put in place a wide range of automated processing and characterization tools for combinatorial research. These are being applied to develop new fuel cell electrocatalysts, proton conductors, battery electrode materials, among other materials
B.S. Metallurgical Engr. & Materials Science, University of Notre Dame (1980)
M.S. Metallurgical Engr. & Materials Science, University of Notre Dame (1983)
Ph.D. Metallurgical Engr. & Materials Science, University of Notre Dame (1984)
Staff Engineer, IBM Corp., East Fishkill, NY (1984-1987)
Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Notre Dame (1987-1990)
Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, University of Notre Dame (1990-1992)
Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, University of Notre Dame (1992-1994)
Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Notre Dame (1994-1997)
Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Notre Dame (1997-present)
Hongmei An, Paul J. McGinn. Catalytic Behavior of Potassium Containing Compounds for Diesel Soot Combustion. Applied Catalysis B, 62:46-56, 2006. view abstract // link Alkali doped oxides were synthesized and tested as catalysts for diesel soot combustion using a combinatorial method. It has been found that potassium shows better promotion of the catalytic activity than other alkali elements, and most of the potassium-rich oxides showed similar catalytic behaviors when catalysts and soot were mixed in a slurry. The influence of different mixing methods, including loose contact, tight contact and slurry (wet) mixing with different soot suspensions, on the catalytic behavior of some transition metal oxides, alkali metal carbonates and potassium-containing oxides were studied through thermogravimetry and XRD. The high activity of potassium-containing catalysts is found to be due to the intimate contact between soot and potassium cations caused by polar solvents. Potassium containing catalysts degraded after repeated thermal cycles due to the loss of potassium. It was also found that the addition of transition elements can inhibit the loss of potassium.
James S. Cooper, Paul J. McGinn. Combinatorial screening of fuel cell cathode catalyst compositions. Applied Surface Science, 254:662-668, 2007. view abstract // link An improved fuel cell cathode catalyst composition was pursued by fabricating and screening thin film combinatorial libraries. Results from the Pt–Ru, Pt–Co–Ti, Pt–Co–Cu and Pt–Co–Cr systems are reported. The discrete composition combinatorial libraries were fabricated by plasma sputtering through shadow masks. Each combinatorial library was tested by cyclic voltammetry in a multichannel electrochemical cell. Compositions were ranked based on the onset potential of the oxygen reduction reaction. Several compositions exhibited better onset potentials than pure Pt. The optimum composition from the Pt–Co–Ti system was Pt44Ti12Co44 but showed signs of corrosion after prolonged testing. A wide range of Pt–Co–Cu compositions also outperformed Pt initially, but ultimately failed due to poor corrosion resistance. Among all of the compositions that were screened, the best performance was demonstrated by Pt28Co36Cr36, with an onset potential 107 mV higher than pure Pt and no sign of corrosion.
James S. Cooper, Min Ku Jeon, Paul J. McGinn. Combinatorial screening of ternary Pt-Ni-Cr catalysts for methanol electro-oxidation. Electrochemistry Communications, 10:1545-1547, 2008. view abstract // link Methanol electro-oxidation activity of ternary Pt–Ni–Cr system was studied by using a combinatorial screening method. A Pt–Ni–Cr thin-film library was prepared by sputtering and quickly characterized by a multichannel multielectrode analyzer. Among the 63 different composition thin-film catalysts, Pt28Ni36Cr36 showed the highest methanol electro-oxidation activity and good stability. This new composition was also studied in its powder form by synthesizing and characterizing Pt28Ni36Cr36/C catalyst. In chronoamperometry testing, the Pt28Ni36Cr36/C catalyst exhibited "decay-free" behavior during 600 s operation by keeping its current density up to 97.1% of its peak current density, while the current densities of Pt/C and Pt50Ru50/C catalysts decreased to 14.0% and 60.3% of their peak current densities, respectively. At 600 s operation, current density of the Pt28Ni36Cr36/C catalyst was 23.8 A gnoble metal−1, while that of those of the Pt/C and Pt50Ru50/C catalysts were 2.74 and 18.8 A gnoble metal−1, respectively.
Min Ku Jeon, Yuan Zhang, Paul J McGinn. Effect of reduction conditions on electrocatalytic activity of a ternary PtNiCr/C catalyst for methanol electro-oxidation. Electrochimica Acta, 54:2837-2842, 2009. view abstract // link The effect of reduction conditions on a Pt28Ni36Cr36/C catalyst was investigated by using two different reduction methods: hydrogen reduction and NaBH4 reduction. In hydrogen reduced catalysts, dissolution of metallic Ni and Cr was observed during cyclic voltammetry (CV) tests, and a larger amount of Ni and Cr was dissolved when reduced at higher temperatures. For methanol electro-oxidation, the highest specific current density of 1.70 A m−2 at 600 s of the chronoamperometry tests was observed in the catalyst reduced at 300 °C, which was not, vert, similar24 times that of a Pt/C catalyst (0.0685 A m−2). In NaBH4 reduced catalysts, formation of an amorphous phase and a more Pt-rich surface was observed in X-ray diffraction and CV results, respectively, with increasing amounts of NaBH4. When reduced by 50 times of the stoichiometric amount of NaBH4, the PtNiCr/C catalyst (PtNiCr-50t) showed a current density of 34.1 A gnoble metal−1, which was 81% higher than the 18.8 A gnoble metal−1 value of a PtRu/C catalyst at 600 s of the chronoamperometry tests. After 13 h of chronoamperometry testing, the activity of the PtNiCr-50t (15.0 A gnoble metal−1) was 110% higher than the PtRu/C catalyst (7.15 A gnoble metal−1). The PtNiCr/C catalyst shows promise as a Ru-free methanol oxidation catalyst.
Hongmei An, Changsheng Su, Paul J. McGinn. Application of Potash Glass as a Catalyst For Diesel Soot Oxidation. Catalysis Communications, 10:509-512, 2009. view abstract // link A novel approach for catalyzing diesel soot oxidation with a potash glass is reported. A simple potash glass (35K2O:2SiO2:13CaO weight ratio) was synthesized and examined for activity for the combustion of diesel soot under various contact and atmospheric conditions by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The glass was found to be an effective soot oxidation catalyst. Leaching of potassium from the glass helps to mitigate the effect of potassium loss during combustion, offering an effective means to maintain the surface activity of the glass catalyst, as seen from repeated TGA cycling.