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Facile dissociation of molecular nitrogen using lanthanide surfaces: towards ambient temperature ammonia synthesis

submitted on 04.02.2020, 03:51 and posted on 04.02.2020, 12:48 by Jay Chan, Stephanie Lambie, Joe Trodahl, Denis Lefebvre, Maxime Le Ster, Ali Shaib, Felicia Ullstad, Simon Brown, Ben Ruck, Anna Garden, Franck Natali
A combined experimental and computational study is reported on a hitherto unrecognised single lanthanide catalyst for the breaking of molecular nitrogen and formation of ammonia at ambient temperature and low pressure.
We combine in situ electrical conductance and electron diffraction measurements to track the conversion from the lanthanide metals to the insulating lanthanide nitrides.
The efficiency of the conversion is then interpreted using DFT+U calculations, suggesting a molecular nitrogen dissociation pathway separate from that well-established for transition metals.
Finally, we show that exposure of the lanthanide surfaces to both molecular nitrogen and hydrogen results in the formation of ammonia.


Email Address of Submitting Author


Victoria University of Wellington


New Zealand

ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

No conflict of interest