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Durham University

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Dr Simon Beaumont

Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42598
Room number: CG120K

(email at

Assistant Professor


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SKB completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Cambridge, obtaining the Norrish prize for overall distinction in Physical Chemistry, before undertaking a PhD with Prof. Richard Lambert (Cambridge), funded by a prestigious Cambridge University Domestic Research Scholarship. During this time he won a number of awards nationally (e.g. scholarship from the UK Society of the Chemical Industry (SCI)) and internationally (student award from the International Precious Metals Institute). The focus of this work was in the heterogeneous catalysis of synthetic transformations (such as enantioselective hydrogenation and C-C coupling) – of relevance to process chemists for fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Following his PhD research, SKB undertook post-doctoral work in the US with Prof. Gabor Somorjai (UC Berkeley), focusing on the use of colloidally prepared nanoparticles as model catalysts for understanding heterogeneously catalyzed bulk chemical transformations, such as Fischer-Trospch, Hydrocarbon Hydrogenation, and CO2 Hydrogenation. This work included extensive use of the Advanced Light Source synchrotron facility for a range of in situ X-ray spectroscopies - including the development of an in situ cell for soft X-ray Adsorption Spectroscopy (NEXAFS) and its application to mechanistic problems in Fischer Tropsch catalysis. 

Current Research Interests

The primary goal is to take well defined materials and nano-structures and use them, in conjunction with advanced and innovative in situ spectroscopic techniques, to improve our understanding of heterogeneous catalysts. Improved understanding in turn enables us to design new better (more energy efficient, sustainable, and selective) catalytic materials. Specific current research areas of interest include:

  • Fischer-Tropsch
  • Ethylene and Higher Olefin Epoxidation
  • In situ DRIFTS (Diffuse Reflectance IR spectroscopy)
  • In situ Raman Techniques
  • Cu-Ag bimetallic structures
  • Diffusion processes in catalysis
  • Solid acid and base catalysis

Current vacancies

Current vacancies are advertised on the departmental website.

Informal enquiries about working with me in the area of hetereogeneous catalysis are also always welcome. There are a number of schemes it may be possible to support strong candidates in applying for funding from these schemes.



Selected Publications

  • Orozco, N.; Kyriakou, G.; Beaumont, S. K.; Fernandez Sanz, J.; Holgado, J. P.; Taylor, M. J.; Espinos, J. P.; Márquez, A. M.; Watson, D. J.; Gonzalez-Elipe, A. R.; Lambert, R. ACS Catal. 2017. 'Critical Role of Oxygen in Silver-Catalyzed Glaser-Hay Coupling on Ag(100) in Vacuum and in Solution on Ag Particles'
  • Herbert, J. J.; Senecal, P.; Martin, D. J.; Bras, W.; Beaumont, S. K.; Beale, A. M. Catal. Sci. Technol. 2016, 6, 5773-5791. 'X-ray spectroscopic and scattering methods applied to the characterisation of cobalt-based Fischer-Tropsch synthesis catalysts'
  • Parlett, C. M. A.; Isaacs, M. A.; Beaumont, S. K.; Bingham, L. M.; Hondow, N. S.; Wilson, K.; Lee, A. F. Nature Materials 2016, 15, 178-182. 'Spatially orthogonal chemical functionalization of a hierarchical pore network for catalytic cascade reactions'
  • Beaumont, S.K.; Alayoglu, S.; Specht C.; Michalak, W.D.; Pushkarev, V.V.; Guo, J.; Kruse N. and Somorjai, G.A., Journal of the American Chemical Society 2014,136, 9898-9901. Combining in situ NEXAFS spectroscopy and CO2 methanation kinetics to study Pt and Co nanoparticle catalysts reveals key insights into the role of platinum in promoted cobalt catalysis
  • Beaumont, S.K.; Alayoglu, S.; Specht C.; Kruse N. and Somorjai, G.A., Nano letters 2014, 14, 4792-4796. ‘A nanoscale demonstration of hydrogen atom spill-over and surface diffusion across silica using the kinetics of CO2 methanation catalyzed on spatially separate Pt and Co nanoparticles
  • Beaumont, S.K., Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 2014, 16, 5034-5043. ‘Recent developments in the application of nanomaterials to understanding molecular level processes in cobalt catalysed Fischer-Tropsch synthesis’
  • Beaumont, S. K.; Alayoglu, S.; Pushkarev, V. V.; Liu, Z.; Kruse, N.; Somorjai, G. A., Faraday Discussions 2013, 162, 31-44. ‘Exploring surface science and restructuring in reactive atmospheres of colloidally prepared bimetallic CuNi and CuCo nanoparticles on SiO2 in situ using ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy
  • Beaumont, S. K., Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology 2012, 87, 595-600. ‘Heterogeneously catalyzing C-C coupling reactions with precious metal nanoparticles’
  • Pushkarev, V. V.; An, K.; Alayoglu, S.; Beaumont, S. K.; Somorjai, G. A., Journal of Catalysis 2012, 292, 64-72. ‘Hydrogenation of benzene and toluene over size controlled Pt/SBA-15 catalysts: Elucidation of the Pt particle size effect on reaction kinetics’
  • Iablokov, V.; Beaumont, S. K.; Alayoglu, S.; Pushkarev, V. V.; Specht, C.; Gao, J.; Alivisatos, A. P.; Kruse, N.; Somorjai, G. A., Nano Letters 2012, 12, 3091-3096. ‘Size-Controlled Model Co Nanoparticle Catalysts for CO2 Hydrogenation: Synthesis, Characterization, and Catalytic Reactions’
  • Alayoglu, S.; Beaumont, S. K.; Zheng, F.; Pushkarev, V. V.; Zheng, H.; Iablokov, V.; Liu, Z.; Guo, J.; Kruse, N.; Somorjai, G. A., Topics in Catalysis 2011, 54, 778-785. ‘CO2 Hydrogenation Studies on Co and CoPt Bimetallic Nanoparticles Under Reaction Conditions Using TEM, XPS and NEXAFS’
  • Beaumont, S. K.; Kyriakou, G.; Watson, D. J.; Vaughan, O. P. H.; Papageorgiou, A. C.; Lambert, R. M., Journal of Physical Chemistry C 2010, 114, 15075-15077. ‘Influence of Adsorption Geometry in the Heterogeneous Enantioselective Catalytic Hydrogenation of a Prototypical Enone
  • Beaumont, S. K.; Kyriakou, G.; Lambert, R. M., Journal of the American Chemical Society 2010, 132,12246-12248. ‘Identity of the Active Site in Gold Nanoparticle-Catalyzed Sonogashira Coupling of Phenylacetylene and Iodobenzene’

Research Groups

Department of Chemistry

Research Interests

  • Cu-Ag bimetallic structures
  • Fischer-Tropsch
  • In situ DRIFTS (Diffuse Reflectance IR spectroscopy)
  • In situ Raman Techniques

Selected Publications

Journal Article

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Selected Grants

  • 2020: SILI-PLAT:SILIca-shell stabilised PLATinum nanparticles for bifunctional deoxygenation catalysis (£27254.00 from )
  • 2019: BIKE: Bimetallic catalyst knowledge based development for energy applications (BIKE) (£262783.29 from Interreg (ERDF) Europe)
  • 2017: Sub-nano Base Metal Catalysts (SuBMiC) Correlating Size and Electronic Effects on Catalytic Activity and Selectivity in Industrially-relevant Transformations (£32433.35 from Johnson Matthey Catalysts)
  • 2017: UK Catalysis Hub - Chemical Transformations - Carbo-Cat: ligand Design for Enhanced Proton Transfer in Homogenous Alkene and Alkene Alkoxycarbonylation (£124413.80 from Epsrc)
  • 2016: UK Catalysis Hub - Catalyst Design - Spatially controlled nanoparticle pairs to probe surface species diffusion in heterogeneous catalysis (£77189.27 from Epsrc)
  • 2013: CataRaman: Watching Catalysts in situ using Total Internal Reflection Raman Spectroscopy (£83542.00 from Epsrc)
  • 2012: Novel Spectroscopic Studies of Catalyst Surfaces under Operational Conditions: Simon Beaumont (£79082.52 from The Leverhulme Trust)