Novel heterogeneous catalytic systems for demanding and strategically important selective oxidation reactions will be developed. These materials will be based on metallic and bimetallic nanoparticles of well-controlled size and composition, prepared by a variety of methods. They will be used to create two classes of systems as follows: (i) biomimetically inspired catalysts consisting of Ru and Fe metalloporphyrins covalently tethered to the surfaces of Ag nanoparticles with a range of different sizes; the aim is to harness the intrinsic surface chemistry of the nanoparticles to the extremely high catalytic selectivity of the metalloporphyrin so as to achieve selective oxidation of alkenes and alkanes at near-ambient temperatures; (ii) Cu, Cu/Au and Cu/Ag nanoparticles of controlled size and composition applied to the selective oxidation of difficult alkenes that contain labile hydrogen atoms which render them vulnerable to deep oxidation. These two themes are based on a solid background of earlier Cambridg e work that provides the springboard from which the Fellow will launch into new and challenging areas.
The project is ambitious and highly interdisciplinary in nature, calling for a combination of materials synthesis, porphyrin synthesis, catalyst preparation and characterization using a range of advanced methods including surface science techniques, catalyst testing with both gas/solid and gas/liquid reactors and application of wide range analytical methods (MS, GC-MS, ES-MS, DRIFTS, LC-MS, UV-VIS, NMR). The project is designed to exploit the Fellows existing expertise at the same time exposing him to a wide range of new and complementary scientific disciplines and methodologies. It should greatly enhance his scientific profile and provide excellent preparation for the next stage of his career trajectory. The host laboratory is a recognised world leader in the relevant field and can provide excellent technical, teaching, scientific and mentoring support.
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