Graphite-conjugated catalysts : bridging heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysts
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Chemistry.
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This interconversion occurs via complex multistep, multielectron reactions, which can be carried out by either metallic heterogeneous or molecular homogeneous electrocatalysts. Metallic heterogeneous catalysts have a continuum of electronic states that distribute the redox burden of multielectron reactions, allowing for efficient catalysis. However, heterogeneous catalysts display a variety of active sites and local electronic structures, and are difficult to fine-tune at a molecular level. On the other hand, homogeneous catalysts allow a great degree of synthetic control over the catalytic active site. Moreover, the relative ease in spectroscopic characterization allows a mechanistic understanding of molecular catalysis at a level that is unattainable for heterogeneous catalysis. To bridge the advantages of both types of catalysts, we have developed a surface functionalization strategy for conjugating molecularly well-defined active sites to graphitic carbon surfaces.First, I will discuss the preparation and characterization of two new types of conjugating N-heterocyclic linkages to graphitic carbon surfaces. This work presents a general method for characterizing modified carbon surfaces with molecular-level structural detail. Then, I will present the electrocatalytic carbon dioxide reduction activity of a graphite-conjugated rhenium catalyst, and compare its catalytic behavior to that of a molecular analog. Electrochemical and spectroscopic data show that graphite-conjugated catalysts do not behave identically to their molecular analogs, but rather show properties similar to that of metallic heterogeneous catalysts, providing a unique bridge between the worlds of heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis.Finally, in the appendix, I will present a chapter on the stability of graphite-conjugated linkages under electrochemical polarization, followed by a chapter on catalyzing the reduction of molecular pyridinium species using a graphite-conjugated rhodium catalyst.
Thesis: Ph. D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Chemistry, 2019Cataloged from PDF version of thesis. Page 156 blank.Includes bibliographical references.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Chemistry
Massachusetts Institute of Technology