Reactions at Metal-Support Interface
Metals supported on reducible oxides have shown promise for a variety of important reactions. Some examples include higher rates of selective deoxygenation and C-O activation when compared to metals supported on inert supports. A great challenge is understanding the underlying cause of the promising activity. Unique catalytic activity can arise due to highly active sites at the perimeter of the metal particle, electronic interaction with the support, new sites that arise on the support that are promoted by the metal, or even decoration or covering of the nanoparticle by the support. Unique sites involving exposed support cations as well as reduced metal particles are capable of carrying out several promising transformations. We focus on combining reaction kinetics with careful catalyst synthesis to determine the root cause of the underlying activity, and we collaborate with excellent theoretical groups of Bin Wang and Lars Grabow to help explain our experimental observations.