Microreactors are miniaturized versions of large scale chemical reactors which are used to investigate chemical reactions in ways which would not be possible using their large scale equivalent. In this collaborative project with the Center for Individual Nano-particle Functionality (CINF), the focus is on creating microreactors which allow investigation of catalytic reactions at real-world pressures and temperatures on novel materials and nano-scale particles. 

By reducing the volume of the reactor many orders of magnitude, it is possible to accurately measure chemical species which would otherwise be too dilute to detect. Additionally, hazardous, and even explosive mixtures or conditions can be safely investigated because of the very small amount of reactants involved. A large part of the effort in the Silicon Microtechnology group is to incorporate new sensors and devices into the microreactor design —using thin film and MEMS processing techniques—to study new systems with greater accuracy; with the ultimate goal of performing catalytic measurements on individual nanoparticles.

Fig. 1: Image of the gas phase microreactor showing the gas channels and the circular reactor chamber. The reactor chamber is 10 mm in diameter but only 3 µm deep resulting in a very small volume and huge surface to volume ratio.
Fig 2: Transparent version of the reactor show in Fig. 1. The reactor is made from a pyrex wafer and is suited for experiments with photocatalysts.



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The project is funded Danish National Research Foundation.