Once again, a publication by CEC scientists has made it onto the front page of a renowned journal: Dr. Yuxiao Ding (first author) and Dr. Yunxiang Qiao, both postdocs in the department 'Heterogeneous Reactions' of Prof. Schlögl, in cooperation with other scientists of the MPI CEC, the Fritz Haber Institute of the MPG, the Technical University of Berlin and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, have published new, groundbreaking findings in the development of heterogeneous catalysts without metal centers.
The researchers reported a nano-diamond-based carbon material with nitrogen and boron atoms doped in. Such configuration of directly bonded to each other electron-rich nitrogen and electron-deficient boron atoms allows highly efficient H2 activation.
The simplest known diatomic molecule hydrogen H2, despite its simplicity, plays a very important role in numerous chemical reactions: One of the most valuable processes in biology and chemistry is hydrogenation, the chemical addition of H2 via double or triple bonds. This conversion is used in the manufacture of many everyday products, including food, plastics such as rubber and pharmaceuticals.
This conversion process requires the use of catalysts. Today, a large majority of the catalysts used in this process contain metals. Although these catalysts already work efficiently, scientists are trying to develop a catalyst that overcomes temperature and pressure limits in the hydrogenation process while being cost-effective. The development of such heterogeneous metal-free catalysts for hydrogenation is a long-term challenge in catalysis, but the promising advantages of using such an approach motivate more research in this field.
In their publication "A Heterogeneous Metal-Free Catalyst for Hydrogenation: Lewis Acid-Base Pairs Integrated into a Carbon Lattice", the researchers led by Dr. Ding presented their findings on a new hydrogenation method in heterogeneous catalysis and thus point to a promising future for the use of metal-free catalysts.
The outstanding result was highlighted on the title page of the 'Angewandte Chemie International Edition'.