CBE Seminar: Will Medlin, University of Colorado Boulder

This is a past event

"Controlling Selectivity in Heterogeneous Catalysis with Organic Monolayers"


One of the most important factors governing the efficiency of a reaction process is the selectivity to desired products.  Achieving high selectivity is necessary in realizing efficient chemical processes that minimize energy inputs and waste, but is a major challenge for complex chemical feedstocks with multiple functional groups. Addressing this problem is important both in conventional production of chemicals and for the conversion of biomass to chemicals and fuels, and requires improved design of the materials that catalyze these reactions.


Our group has investigated several techniques for improving selectivity during the reactions of complex molecules. One approach involves the modification of the catalyst surface with organic monolayers. By changing the functional groups present within these layers, one can precisely control the near-surface environment to enhance specific reactant-surface interactions and thus improve catalyst performance.  This presentation will address different ways in which surface functionalization with organic ligands can be used to improve reaction selectivity.  These examples span various types of catalysts, including cases where the key reaction steps occur on metal surfaces, on metal oxide surfaces, and at interfaces between metals and metal oxides.  The utility of the methods by which organic ligands can be used for selectivity control will be illustrated for reaction chemistries important in biomass refining and in the production of valuable chemicals.

Friday, December 7, 2018 at 10:00am to 11:00am

Colburn Lab, 102
University of Delaware- Colburn Lab, University of Delaware, 150 Academy St, Newark, DE 19716-3196, USA

Event Type

Academics, College of Engineering



Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering


ENGR - Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
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Chil Alba

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