The Rapid Evolution of Catalysis Science from the Perspective of Surface Chemistry

Seminar series
Physical Chemistry Seminar
Mon, May 13 4:00pm
2033 Young Hall
Speaker Professor Gabor A. Somorjai
University of California, Berkeley
Dept. of Chemistry

Abstract: Colloid synthesis techniques provided the means to produce monodispersed nanoparticles in the 1-10 nm range, which overlaps the size of catalyst nanoparticles in most applications.  Metal, bimetallic nanoparticles and core shell structures show that catalytic selectivities and turnover rates are dependent on the size, shapes and compositions of nanoparticles.  Instrumentations using X-ray and laser spectroscopies, scanning tunneling microscopy and others show dynamic changes of structures and oxidation states under reaction conditions.  The oxide-metal interface sites where charge transfer occurs during reactions help to ionize reacting molecules in the transition states to carry out acid-base catalysis on metal nanoparticles.  The dominance of low coordination catalyst sites during heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis permits heterogenizing homogeneous catalysis using 1 nm metal clusters.  Construction of more complex catalyst architectures should permit development of systems that exhibit enzyme-like catalysis.