Anthony Payne

Postgraduate Research Student

Academic and research departments

School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.


My research project


ANTHONY J. R. PAYNE, Neubi F. Xavier, Jr, Glauco F. Bauerfeldt, Marco Sacchi (2022)Dehydrogenation of ammonia on free-standing and epitaxial hexagonal boron nitride, In: Physical chemistry chemical physics24(34)pp. 20426-20436 Royal Society of Chemistry

We report a thermodynamically feasible mechanism for producing H2 from NH3 using hBN as a catalyst. 2D catalysts have exceptional surface areas with unique thermal and electronic properties suited for catalysis. Metal-free, 2D catalysts, are highly desirable materials that can be more sustainable than the ubiquitously employed precious and transition metal-based catalysts. Here, using density functional theory (DFT) calculations, we demonstrate that metal-free hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) is a valid alternative to precious metal catalysts for producing H2 via reaction of ammonia with a boron and nitrogen divacancy (VBN). Our results show that the decomposition of ammonia proceeds on monolayer hBN with an activation energy barrier of 0.52 eV. Furthermore, the reaction of ammonia with epitaxially grown hBN on a Ru(0001) substrate was investigated, and we observed similar NH3 decomposition energy barriers (0.61 eV), but a much more facile H2 associative desorption barrier (0.69 eV vs 5.89 eV). H2 generation from the free standing monolayer would instead occur through a diffusion process with an energy barrier of 3.36 eV. A detailed analysis of the electron density and charge distribution along the reaction pathways was carried out to rationalise the substrate effects on the catalytic reaction.

Adrian Ruckhofer, Marco Sacchi, Anthony Payne, Andrew P Jardine, Wolfgang E Ernst, Nadav Avidor, Anton Tamtögl (2022)Evolution of ordered nanoporous phases during h-BN growth: Controlling the route from gas-phase precursor to 2D material by $\textit{in-situ}$ monitoring, In: Nanoscale horizons [e-journal] RSC

Large-area single-crystal monolayers of two-dimensional (2D) materials such as graphene and hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) can be grown by chemical vapour deposition (CVD). However, the high temperatures and fast timescales at which the conversion from a gas-phase precursor to the 2D material appear, make it extremely challenging to simultaneously follow the atomic arrangements. We utilise helium atom scattering to discover and control the growth of novel 2D h-BN nanoporous phases during the CVD process. We find that prior to the formation of h-BN from the gas-phase precursor, a metastable $(3\times3)$ structure is formed, and that excess deposition on the resulting 2D h-BN leads to the emergence of a $(3\times4)$ structure. We illustrate that these nanoporous structures are produced by partial dehydrogenation and polymerisation of the borazine precursor upon adsorption. These steps are largely unexplored during the synthesis of 2D materials and we unveil the rich phases during CVD growth. Our results provide significant foundations for 2D materials engineering in CVD, by adjusting or carefully controlling the growth conditions and thus exploiting these intermediate structures for the synthesis of covalent self-assembled 2D networks.