Ian Smith

Graduate Research Assistant

Co-advised by Professors Fabio Ribeiro and W. Nicholas Delgass

Professional Networks



Purdue University, B.S. Chemical Engineering (2012)
Purdue University, Ph.D. Chemical Engineering (2012 - present)



  • Lubrizol Chemical Engineering Scholarship (2011 - 2012)
  • Kokomo/Howard County Development Corporation Scholarship (2008 - 2009)

Project Description

Mechanistic studies of the water-gas shift reaction on inverse model catalysts

The Water Gas Shift (WGS) reaction is industrially important for the production of hydrogen, methanol, and ammonia, as well as pretreating reactants for the Fischer-Tropsch process. Using inverse model catalyst systems, synthesized by using atomic layer deposition (ALD), it is possible to study the metal-support interactions inherent in WGS catalyst systems. An inverse catalyst, which consists of a metal single crystal with oxide particles deposited on the surface, allows us to probe the effects of the oxide support on the turnover rate more easily than a traditional model catalyst system. The self-limiting nature of ALD allows for precise control over the surface characteristics of the catalyst, which enables us to perform experiments that will relate the effects of the support with the reaction rate. The results from these experiments provide insight into the mechanism of the WGS reaction.

All experiments are performed on a custom built Ultra-High Vacuum (UHV) system with a scanning tunneling microscope (STM), and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) for catalyst characterization. The UHV chamber also has a custom designed ALD chamber and atmospheric pressure reaction cell with Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and Gas Chromatography (GC) for reaction gas analysis.

Publications and Presetations



  • I.T. Smith, I. Jimenez-Useche, CL Yuan, Clipping of Flexible Tails of Histones H3 and H4 affects the structure and dynamics of the nucleosome, Oral Presentation, Purdue SURF Research Symposium, 2011.