Harnessing photons, electrons and nanoparticles to catalyse hydrocarbon transformation
Hydrocarbons, chemical compounds consisting primarily of hydrogen and carbon, are the main components of crude oil, natural gas and coal. Transforming them into oxygen-containing compounds via oxygenation yields useful high value-added products and intermediates for the fine chemical industry. However, fostering these reactions via activation of carbon-hydrogen bonds is still a challenge and often leads to low yields and unwanted by-products. The EU-funded PLACABIN project will employ computational and experimental methods to develop a novel photocatalysis-based approach to selective hydrocarbon oxidation using bimetallic nanostructures. Careful characterisation of processes from the single-particle to ensemble levels will enhance control and applicability.