Abstract by Kelsey Canizales
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Dinuclear Heteroatomic Catalysts for the Reduction of Nitrophenol
Nitrophenol exists as a major industrial waste product that is toxic and often contaminates water. Through a simple reduction reaction, nitrophenol (NP) can be converted to aminophenol (AP), which is used in drugs, cosmetics, and photography. The catalysis of the NP to AP reduction has been studied, and a variety of metal oxide catalysts have been successful at making the reaction fast and efficient. Most of these catalysts contain only a single type of metal, though a few have incorporated more than one metal. The mixed-metal catalysts have shown enhanced catalytic activity. However, in these mixed-metal catalysts, metal atoms are randomly dispersed on the catalyst surface. We are developing a mixed-metal catalyst for the reduction of NP in which the two different metals will be bonded to each other on the catalyst surface, creating a series of heteroatomic dual-nucleus active sites. We will investigate whether the proximity of the metal atoms will significantly affect catalyst activity. We are also seeking to develop insights into how the presence of more than one type of metal leads to enhanced catalytic ability.