Researchers at Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) participate in Nobel Prize winning work in Chemistry
Two scientists at the COMP Center of Excellence at Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) in Espoo, Finland, have participated in the award-winning work of Prof. G. Ertl, who was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Results of the collaboration have been published in Physical Review Letters and Physical Review B in 2002 and2003, respectively, and they are among the works cited in the report of the Nobel committee as a basis for the Prize.
The joint research project has been carried out in collaboration between TKK, Brown University (USA), and the Fritz-Haber Institute in Berlin, Germany. The Finnish participants at TKK are Professor Tapio Ala-Nissilä and docent Petri Salo, who carried out theoretical calculations on the properties of hydrogen adatoms on platinum surfaces with Professor See Chen Ying and Dr. Stefan Badescu at Brown University. The theorists developed a model based on quantum-mechanical density functional calculations of hydrogen on platinum in order to explain the experimental data from the Ertl group. Among the main results is a precise characterization of the quantum-mechanical features of hydrogen when it resides on platinum surfaces at low enough temperatures. These results from the joint research project have potential application in developing new catalytic systems and also hydrogen-based energy production and storage systems.
Professor Ala-Nissilä and Docent Salo are senior members of the Finnish National COMP Center of Excellence, headed by Academy Professor Risto M. Nieminen and funded in part by the Academy of Finland. COMP is the leading theoretical research unit in Finland in the field of theoretical and computational nanophysics and nanotechnology. Professor Ala-Nissilä is also an Adjunct Professor of Physics at Brown University. Prof. Ying has previously collaborated with Professor Walter Kohn, who was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the quantum-mechanical density functional theory. This theory played a key role in the present calculations.