Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Unearthing chemistry’s rare gems

14.12.2009
Combining rare-earth clusters with traditional metal catalysts reveals secrets of chemical transformation

Metal catalysts, with their ability to both speed up chemical reactions and influence product structures, have revolutionized manufacturing of essential goods such as petroleum and pharmaceuticals. The constant search for new catalysts that can improve existing methods has spurred chemists to investigate a relatively unknown part of the periodic table—the rare-earth elements.

Rare earths, named for the uncommon minerals in which they were first discovered, possess remarkable chemical properties owing to their internal electronic configuration. Now, Zhaomin Hou from the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute in Wako and colleagues have used an yttrium-based rare-earth cluster to generate a new series of complexes that hold vital structural clues towards improving catalytic reactions.

Hou and co-workers studied one of industry’s most critical reactions: the reduction of carbon monoxide (CO) molecules attached to transition metal catalysts. In this process, a reagent known as a hydride causes CO to gain electrons or hydrogen, producing useful liquid hydrocarbons. Scientists know little about the mechanism of this reaction, however, and industry greatly desires more efficient catalysts.

First, Hou’s team developed a new molecular rare-earth hydride—a large cluster containing several yttrium, hydrogen, and organic groups—to investigate CO reduction. According to Hou, the rare-earth hydride is extremely reactive towards molecules with triple bonds such as CO.

When mixed together, the rare-earth hydride incorporated the metal–CO complex into its own framework, creating structurally well-defined organic–multimetallic molecules with various degrees of CO reduction. The researchers believe that these new hybrid compounds are important intermediates in the transformation of CO into hydrocarbon molecules.

They also found that different metal–CO complexes generated unique structures with the rare-earth hydride. For example, tungsten–CO complexes added to the yttrium cluster as intact units by bonding oxygen atoms to yttrium sites. With a rhodium–CO complex, however, the C–O bond is cleaved after addition; carbon groups joined directly to yttrium while oxygen atoms moved deeper into the cluster framework.

The ability of rare-earth hydrides to capture ‘snapshots’ of catalytic reactions through an extraordinary variety of metal, carbon, and oxygen bonding interactions promises to spark development of better organic synthetic techniques, a prospect that Hou and colleagues are actively investigating.

“These new organic–multimetallic structures provide well-defined examples of the individual first steps in the reduction of coordinated CO,” says Hou. “And, our findings may give clues for the design of new catalysts for selective synthesis of hydrocarbons from CO reduction.”

The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the Organometallic Chemistry Laboratory, RIKEN Advanced Science Institute.

Saeko Okada | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.rikenresearch.riken.jp/eng/research/6108
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht The Nagoya Protocol Creates Disadvantages for Many Countries when Applied to Microorganisms
05.12.2016 | Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light

05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>