Methane is an abundant energy resource and finding ways to effectively take advantage of it will provide a much needed stop gap between our current energy system and a renewable one, and lead to a more energy efficient future. The aim of this project is to further the understanding of the underlying mechanisms in metal-catalyzed activation of hydrocarbons. This project is a step in the long term goal of finding ways to cheaply turn methane into more useful forms, such as longer chain hydrocarbons that are easier to transport.
My research looks at the activation of methane by metal cluster ions. I will use vibrational spectroscopy to characterize the structure and bonding in these activated complexes. The main focus of my research will be the interesting size dependency shown by metal cluster ions. The metal cluster ions of interest are Nix+ and Fex+.