Nanoscience and Catalysis
One of the stimulating features of nanotechnology is its potential use in almost any field. The discovery of nanoparticles with varied size, shape and composition has stretched the limits of technology in ways that scientists would never have dreamt of a century ago. Nature makes and chemistry re-shapes; huge varieties of nanoparticles have emerged in our daily life, in every field from drugs and electronics to paints and beauty care, and they are now emerging in the field of catalysis.
In the nanoscience and catalysis group, we are designing and synthesizing various nano-materials (silica, metal oxides, metals, MOF) with specific shapes, sizes and morphologies. The applications of interest currently being followed are emerging trends in formation of hybrid/dye-sensitized solar cells, hydrogen production, and an application with substantial interest is nanocatalysis. Nanoparticles can substitute conventional materials and serve as active and stable heterogeneous catalysts or support materials for catalytic groups. Due to their small sizes, catalytic active nanoparticles have higher surface area and increased exposed active sites, and thereby improved contact areas with reactants, akin those of homogeneous catalytic systems. At the same time, nanostructured catalysts can behave as heterogeneous catalysts, and they can therefore be easily separated from the reaction mixture. Of special interests are nano-catalysts for the development of sustainable protocols for various challenging reactions like C-H activation, C-C coupling, oxidation, metathesis, hydrogenolysis, hydrogenation, CO2 capture and conversion to fine chemicals, photocatalysis and environmental remediation. In addition, molecular catalysis in the homogenous phase is also pursued with emphasis on oxidation reactions e.g. water oxidation both in the chemical and photocatalytic variants.