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 Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover

nachricht First transcription atlas of all wheat genes expands prospects for research and cultivation
17.08.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>