Molecular Metal Catalysts on Supports: Organometallic Chemistry Meets Surface Science

Event Date: January 20, 2015
Speaker: Prof. Bruce Gates
Speaker Affiliation: University of California – Davis
Time: 9:00 - 10:15 am
Location: FRNY G140

Abstract:  Advances in synthesis and characterization of essentially molecular metal complexes and clusters on supports are making a reality of catalyst design. We summarize work unraveling effects of the design variables of these site-isolated catalysts: the metal, metal nuclearity, support, and other ligands on the metal. The syntheses provide structurally simple, uniform species bonded to crystalline porous supports chosen for their uniformity: zeolites and MgO. The catalyst syntheses involve reactions of organometallic precursors with support surfaces; the characterization methods include IR, EXAFS, XANES, and NMR spectroscopies, atomic-resolution electron microscopy, and computations at the level of DFT. The data demonstrate high degrees of uniformity of supported species and determine their compositions and structures, including the ligands and the metal–support bonding and structure.


Bio:  Bruce Gates studied chemical engineering at Berkeley (B.S., 1961) and the University of Washington (PhD, 1966) and with a Fulbright grant did postdoctoral research at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich. He worked for two years as a research engineer at Chevron Research Company and began as an assistant professor at the University of Delaware in 1969, becoming the H. Rodney Sharp Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor of Chemistry.  In 1992 he joined the University of California, Davis, where he is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. He has spent four sabbatical years at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich and was recently a guest professor at Hokkaido University. 

Gates’s research is focused on catalysis, with an emphasis on essentially molecular metal complex and metal cluster catalysts anchored to solid surfaces and on catalytic conversion of biomass-derived compounds. He authored the textbooks “Catalytic Chemistry” and co-authored “Chemistry of Catalytic Processes.” He edits the monographAdvances in Catalysis. He serves on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Board. He has been recognized with awards from the American Chemical Society, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the North American Catalysis Society, and the Council for Chemical Research. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.