(6r) Nanostructured Hybrid Materials: Directing Catalytic Activity and Selectivity By Design

Authors: 
Sabyrov, K., University of California at Berkeley
Research Interests: and Teaching Interests:

Nanostructured Hybrid Materials: Directing Catalytic Activity and Selectivity by Design

In the field of catalysis, there is a need for highly active, selective, and stable catalysts for more efficient and cleaner use of existing and alternative energy sources. In this respect, hybrid materials with multifunctional properties show great promise and offer several important advantages over traditional catalysts. A rational design of hybrid systems provides a platform (i) to combine heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis, which have been explored rather separately, and employ the best of the both fields, (ii) to produce extraordinary or synergystic properties at the interface of different types of materials, (iii) to carry out consecutive reactions in tandem, and (iv) to exploit the flexibility and diversity of organic, inorganic, and metallic materials. In addition, recent breakthrough in the synthesis of nanostructures and discovery of exotic materials renders the investigation of hybrid systems an attractive and promising area of research.

In this poster, I will present a brief overview of my graduate and postdoctoral studies, and my research interests and future plans on the topic. My graduate research primarily focused on the synthesis of TiOnanocrystals with well-defined particle size and characterization of particle growth and phase transformation mechanisms. First, I experimentally demonstrated that the particle size and particle interface produced during nanocrystal growth play a crucial role in the thermodynamic stability of nanocrystals. Then, I developed a mathematical model to describe the types of mechanisms and characterize the kinetics of phase transformation.

With the expertise and experience in the synthesis and characterization of nanostructured materials acquired during my graduate years, as a postdoctoral researcher I work towards designing multicomponent catalysts and testing them on scientifically and industrially important chemical reactions. I have synthesized highly selective bifunctional catalyst comprising platinum nanoparticles with finely tuned particle size and mesoporous silica post-synthetically modified with aluminum, and investigated its catalytic properties on n-hexane (n-C6H14) and n-hexadecane (n-C16H34) conversions, model reactions for industrial reforming of naphtha and heavy-gas oil, respectively. In addition, metal-organic framework (MOF) was demonstrated to encapsulate and disperse a large amount of phosphotungstic acid (H3PW12O40), a solid acid with high catalytic activity and strong acidity, but with extremely low surface area. Combined with platinum nanoparticles, the MOF-based material was catalytically active towards gas-phase isomerization of n-hexane.

In the future, I aim to establish a research program on the fundamental investigation of molecular-level electronic interaction and structure-property relationship between organic and inorganic materials and the design of hybrid catalysts for environmentally and industrially important chemical transformations. I will utilize the unique structural, chemical, and compositional features of metal-organic and covalent organic frameworks, chelating ligands and capping agents, and electronically and catalytically active nanostructures to achieve the objectives mentioned in the introduction.

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