CCST Seminar: Christophe Coperet, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich

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“Bridging the Gap Between Single-site and Industrial Catalysts”


Catalysis is a central science and technology in the modern world, that will be key for the development of a more sustainable economy. Most catalytic processes rely on heterogeneous catalysts, that are inherently complex and have thus been developed empirically. While discovered and studies for more than forty-fifty years, the nature of active sites in industrial catalysts mostly remains elusive, due to the small amounts of active sites and the complexity of these catalysts as evidenced by the fact that only a small fraction of the surface sites are active (typically less than 10%).  In the past years, Surface Organometallic Chemistry (SOMC) has emerged as a powerful approach to generate well-defined sites on surfaces, aimable to detailed spectroscopy studies and to rational design.[1]  When combined with thermolytic molecular precursors (TMPs), that can lose their organic moieties quite readily upon thermal treatment, SOMC provides access to supported isolated metal sites with defined oxidation state and nuclearity inherited from the precursor. The resulting surface species bear unusual coordination environmental imposed by the surface that provides them high reactivity in comparison with their molecular precursor. This approach can also provide detailed information about the structure of active sites in industrial catalysts, their mode of initiation and deactivation, as well as the role of the support and specific thermal treatment on the final activity of the catalysts.[2]

In this lecture, I will first discuss how SOMC/TMPs can be used as a method to control and understand the chemistry at the surface of oxide materials, to develop highly efficient single-site catalysts and to bring about information about supported metal oxides used in industrial settings.[3]



[1] Surface Organometallic and Coordination Chemistry towards Single-Site Heterogeneous Catalysts: Strategies, Methods, Structures, and Activities. C. Copéret, A. Comas-Vives, M. P. Conley, D. Estes, A. Fedorov, V. Mougel, H. Nagae, F. Núñez-Zarur, P. A. Zhizhko Chem. Rev. 2016, 16, 323-421.

[2] Single-Sites and Nanoparticles at Tailored Interfaces Prepared via Surface Organometallic Chemistry from Thermolytic Molecular Precursors. C. Copéret Acc. Chem. Res. 2019, 52, 1697-1708.

[3] a) Bridging the Gap between Industrial and Well-Defined Supported Catalysts. C. Copéret, F. Allouche, K. W. Chan, M. P. Conley, M. F. Delley, A. Fedorov, I. B. Moroz, V. Mougel, M. Pucino, K. Searles, K. Yamamoto, P. A. Zhizhko, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2018, 57, 6398-6440. b) Fuels and Energy Carriers from Single-Site Catalysts prepared via Surface Organometallic Chemistry. C. Copéret Nature Energy 2019, 4, 1018–1024.


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Wednesday, October 28, 2020 at 10:00am

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Students, Lectures & Programs



Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Center Catalytic Science & Technology, Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation


ENGR - Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
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