The objective of the present scientific proposal is the implementation of a novel approach in selective and asymmetric heterogeneous catalysis. We aim to exploit the structure and chirality of small, supported metal and bimetal clusters for triggering selective and enantioselective reactions. Our Ansatz is beyond doubt of fundamental nature. Although chemistry and in particular catalysis evolved on a largely empirical basis in the past, we strongly believe the complexity of the challenges at hand to make this a less ideal approach. In consequence, developing selective and asymmetric cluster catalysis will be based on a detailed molecular understanding and will not only require intense methodological developments for the synthesis and characterization of asymmetric catalysts and the detection of chiral and isomeric product molecules but also make use of innovative basic science in the fields of surface chemistry, cluster science, spectroscopy and kinetics. As complex as the involved challenges are, we aim at mastering the following ground-breaking steps: (a) development of cutting-edge spectroscopic methodologies for the isomer and enantiomer sensitive in situ detection of product molecules. (b) preparation and characterization of isomer- and enantioselective heterogeneous catalysts based on chiral metal clusters or molecule-cluster-complexes. (c) investigations of the selectivity and enantioselectivity of cluster based heterogeneous catalysts and formulation of concepts for understanding the observed selective and asymmetric chemistry.
Besides the importance of the science carried out within this proposal, the proposed experimental methodology will also open up opportunities in other fields of chemistry like catalysis, analytical chemistry, spectroscopy, surface science, and nanomaterials.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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