Office of Research, UC Riverside
Francisco Zaera
Distinguished Professor of Chemistry
Chemistry
zaera@ucr.edu
(951) 827-5498


Mechanistic Insights into the Structure Sensitivity of Hydrocarbon Conversions Catalyzed by Metal Surfaces

AWARD NUMBER
006937-002
FUND NUMBER
21284
STATUS
Closed
AWARD TYPE
3-Grant
AWARD EXECUTION DATE
7/23/2014
BEGIN DATE
8/1/2014
END DATE
7/31/2017
AWARD AMOUNT
$495,000

Sponsor Information

SPONSOR AWARD NUMBER
CHE-1359668
SPONSOR
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
SPONSOR TYPE
Federal
FUNCTION
Organized Research
PROGRAM NAME

Proposal Information

PROPOSAL NUMBER
14020152
PROPOSAL TYPE
New
ACTIVITY TYPE
Basic Research

PI Information

PI
Zaera, Francisco
PI TITLE
Other
PI DEPTARTMENT
Chemistry
PI COLLEGE/SCHOOL
College of Nat & Agr Sciences
CO PIs

Project Information

ABSTRACT

In this project funded by the Chemical Catalysis program of the Chemistry Division, Professor Francisco Zaera of the University of California, Riverside is investigating the molecular processes by which hydrocarbons are converted from one compound to another on the surface of a metal, also termed catalysis. The catalysis of hydrocarbon conversion reactions is central to many industrial processes, including oil refining, fine chemical synthesis, and food processing. One of the major challenges in catalysis is to achieve high selectivity for one product over all other potential products, which would avoid wasting feedstocks and would minimize the production of polluting byproducts. It has been shown that, in some catalysis on metal surfaces, selectivity may be controlled through variations in the atomic level structure of the surface, and this control offers new avenues for the design of highly desirable industrial processes.

In this project, Professor Zaera focuses on testing specific examples where hydrocarbon conversion may be controlled by using metal nanoparticles with specific shapes. Three complementary experimental approaches are being used: a high-flux molecular beam to obtain accurate kinetic parameters for model metal samples with different structures under controlled environments, an operando arrangement for the in-situ characterization of corresponding adsorbed species by infrared (IR) spectroscopy, and a reactor for the kinetic and IR characterization of more realistic catalysts made out of metal nanoparticles with specific shapes dispersed on high-surface-area supports. This project involves the training of graduate students, with an emphasis in recruiting students from groups underrepresented in science research fields by taking advantage of the several international outreach activities. The broader impacts of this project also include the potential development of cleaner catalytic processes for energy and other applications.
(Abstract from NSF)