9 October 2018
STFC’s world-leading Central Laser Facility (CLF) has been instrumental in new research which might see efficiency savings being made in an industry worth billions to the UK.
Researchers from CLF and York University have used the ULTRA laser to develop a new technique to study chemical catalysts.
Chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing is worth £18billion to the UK, and approximately 80-90% of the products made in the chemical industry are reliant on catalysts.
Chemical reactions can take a long time when left to be carried out naturally – so catalysts are used to speed up the process. In addition some chemicals only react at very low temperatures and a catalyst is added to help to lower the temperature quickly.
Despite catalysts being vitally important, very little is understood about how they actually work. Any step forward in understanding could result in making the process cheaper or more efficient, something which is crucial for such a huge industry.
CLF’s Ultra laser was instrumental to the research, as it is the only laser which can allow you to observe at the tiniest timescale how the catalysts actually work.
For more information on the experiment visit the CLF website.