Any Colour you Like

Dr. Walter Leitner, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion, is speaking at ILMAC 2021 on the topic of «Any Colour you Like“: Multifunctional Catalysts for Selective Activation and Transfer of Hydrogen in Green Chemistry Applications». Learn more in the recording.



The controlled activation and transfer of the dihydrogen molecule is essential for selective hydrogenation and hydrogenolysis of unsaturated and oxygen containing substrates. Metal nanoparticles are of major importance in hydrogenation catalysis and essential elements in multifunctional catalytic materials. Their controlled synthesis from organometallic precursors has emerged as fruitful link between the fields of “homogeneous” and “heterogeneous” catalysis. 

In the present talk, we will discuss the potential of ionic liquid (IL) type structures attached to silica surfaces as matrix for catalytic active metallic nanoparticles (M@SILP-catalysts) [1]. The judicious combination of the functionality comprised in the molecular modifier and the mono- or bimetallic NPs offers control over the H2 activation from homolytic to heterolytic enabling precise adjustment of challenging selectivities. Most recently, it was demonstrated that reactive molecular modifiers can be used to generate adaptive catalytic systems that self-adjust reversibly to different chemical environments [2]. 

The systematic development of this molecular toolbox opens access to catalyst materials for very challenging hydrogenation/hydrogenolysis processes as required for example in selective biomass conversion, but also for greener transformations in the petrochemical value chain. In particular, selective hydrogenation and deoxygenation reactions of aromatic oxygenates will be discussed in this talk opening new pathways in the production of fine chemicals, fragrances, and pharmaceuticals.


[1]   For a review, see: Bordet, A., Leitner, W. Accounts of Chemical Research, 2021, 54, 2144−2157;doi:10.1021/acs.accounts.1c00013.
[2]   Bordet, A., El Sayed, S., Sanger, M., Boniface, K. J., Kalsi, D., Luska, K. L., Jessop, P.; Leitner, W. Nature Chemistry, 2021, available online; doi:10.1038/s41557-021-00735-w. 

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