Heterogeneous catalyst design is often hampered by a lack of precise information about the molecular identity of the active sites. Synthesizing model catalysts with control of the local structure allows us to interrogate the active sites about their interactions with reactants and products, including activation and deactivation processes. The approach has proven particularly fruitful for dispersed metal oxides, in which the active site consists of a single metal ion interacting with an oxide support. I will describe our efforts to identify active sites in transition metal ions dispersed on oxide supports for large-scale olefin polymerization and metathesis, to describe their structures and their activation mechanisms, and to test their kinetic competence in catalytic transformations.
Speaker: Susannah Scott, UC Santa Barbara
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