My main research interests are focused around the application of heterogeneous catalysts for the synthesis of intermediates and fine chemicals. The major motivation is providing environmentally benign routes for the production of chemicals and exploiting specific properties of heterogeneous catalysts such as shape-selectivity, ease of separation and recovery, or thermal stability. Kinetic modelling and in-situ spectroscopic characterisation are applied in order to get a more detailed mechanistic understanding of the working catalyst. The goal is to provide alternatives for present processes that are acceptable for chemicals producers. Therefore it is imperative to give consideration to factors other than just the catalyst composition at early stages, eg. reaction mode, reactor type, compatibility with solvents, or separation of the catalyst from the products.
Zeolites are among the catalytic materials of particular interest. Their crystalline microporous nature in combination with high thermal stability, ion-exchange and sorption capacity, as well as the ability to generate acidity has made them unique materials for practical applications. To promote the understanding of heterogeneously catalysed reactions, infrared spectroscopy is an excellent tool because it allows the detection of surface species of interest. Co-adsorption studies have proven extremely valuable as model experiment for a variety of reactions. The use, application, and further methodical development of in situ IR spectroscopy for the study of catalyst surfaces will therefore be applied with special emphasis.
Selected Research Projects
- "Nitration of Aromatics Using Solid Acids" in collaboration with ETH Zurich download PDF
- "Selective Catalytic Reduction of NOx Using Iron-Exchanged Zeolites" in collaboration with ETH Zurich download PDF
- "Mesoporous Molecular Sieves as Catalysts and Catalyst Supports" in collaboration with ETH Zurich download PDF