Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energys Brookhaven National Laboratory have used a new way to isolate and study an important intermediate in the epoxidation of olefins such as ethylene: They run the reaction in reverse. By starting with the final products (epoxides) and placing them on the surface of a model catalyst, the scientists are able to use surface chemistry techniques to "catch" the intermediate. Understanding this intermediate may ultimately help the scientists develop improved or new catalysts for the forward reaction -- a reaction that produces important "building blocks" in the manufacture of larger organic molecules.
In the forward direction, the interaction of the reactants with the surface is either too weak to allow direct study of the mechanism, or the intermediate -- a ring structure on the surface of the silver catalyst -- forms and transforms too quickly for scientists to study. But in reverse, the intermediate stays on the surface longer, so scientists can apply various techniques to try to understand the reaction mechanism.
"If we find a general rule based on our studies with this model catalyst, then we can design a new catalyst, because we know how the reaction occurred on the surface," said Brookhaven chemist Hong Piao, who is working on the project. The general goal is to improve the reactivity and selectivity of the catalyst for producing particular products.
Karen McNulty Walsh | EurekAlert!
Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein
24.01.2017 | Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY
Choreographing the microRNA-target dance
24.01.2017 | UT Southwestern Medical Center
A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.01.2017 | Life Sciences
24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine