This image shows a purified iron(II) phthalocyanine film that has been removed from a quartz tube. Travis Marshall-Roth, a PhD candidate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Ryan Bisbey, an MIT postdoc, used high-temperature vacuum sublimation to purify the compound. They cut the resulting thin, polycrystalline film to expose its interior crystals. Marshall-Roth and Bisbey purified the compound so they could use it as a molecular standard in X-ray absorption spectroscopy experiments. They are developing alternative molecular models of the catalytically active sites that mediate reactions such as oxygen reduction in fuel cells. “If we can improve our understanding of the nature of the catalytic sites in these materials by drawing analogies and insight from molecular mimics,” Marshall-Roth says, “we may be able to build more efficient and effective catalysts at a lower cost.”
Submitted by Travis Marshall-Roth
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