New Catalyst Development

Catalysis has been one of the main driving forces of innovation since the beginning of modern science. These days, more than 80% of all products on the market have at least one step in their manufacturing process that involves a catalyst that is either heterogenous, homogenous, or biological. Since 2014, these catalysts generated more than 900 billion USD in annual revenue, while the catalyst market alone is expected to grow to 33 billion USD, making catalysis the #1 value generator in the chemical industry. Unfortunately, many of these catalysts are still based on precious metal such as palladium, rhodium, and iridium, which are expensive, toxic, and harmful to the environment.

In our laboratory we develop new catalysts that are based on environmentally friendly earth-abundant metals. To control the reactivity of earth-abundant metals we have developed a new ligand platform that regulate the electronic needs of the catalyst, eventually leading to better productivity and selectivity

Sustainable Bond Activation

The way we perform molecular transformations is undergoing a thru renaissance. With the increase in molecular complexity, comes a demand for increasingly sophisticated catalysts that essentially produce zero waste and yet provide the desired product in high yield and selectivity.   

It is our mission to drive sustainable catalysis through bespoke ligand design. To this end we have recently developed a new PC(NHC)P pincer ligand platform that containing a central carbene donor atom. The unique electronic properties of this strong field ligand has enabled unique reactivity with iron in both the activation (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 142, 17131) and isomerization (Chem. Catal. 2021, 1, 632) of strong bonds. Current efforts, are directed toward further exploring this ligand system with (other) earth-abundant metal and discovering their wellspring of reactivity in important organic transformations such as aryl-aryl cross-coupling, alkene isomerization & functionalization, acceptorless dehydrogenation, and small molecule activationI

2D Material Functionalization

Since the isolation and characterization of single layer graphene, two-dimensional materials (2DMs) such as graphene, hexagonal boronitride (h-BN), and molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) have held privileged positions within the molecular sciences. Because of their excellent electronic and mechanical properties, 2DM-based devices have quickly gained prominence in chemistry, materials science, and physics over the past decade. Contributing to their success is the ability to modify the Fermi level of 2DMs through various methodologies such as chemical doping and covalent surface modification amongst others. Although attractive, the drawback of these methodologies is that they chemically alter the 2DM lattice, which can be detrimental to their physicochemical properties.

Together with the laboratory of Prof. Elad Koren we have developed new self-assembly strategies to non-covalently functionalize these two 2D-Materials. The advantage of non-covalent self-assembly is that physicochemical properties of the 2D-materials remain unaffected resulting in better device quality and lifetime

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