The active site in the spotlight!


In order to understand the performance of homogeneous catalysts and optimise their processes, insights in the detailed function of the different catalyst components (metal, ligand, substrate, etc) and their reaction mechanisms are required. In this project I therefore want to develop new X-ray spectroscopy techniques and methodologies in order to obtain a full movie on the working catalyst in time. The use of X-ray light with different energies will allow me to look at all the individual components of a catalyst system. Fast data acquisition methodologies in combination with smart, modulated excitation, experimentation will allow me to characterise the reactive short-lived intermediate(s), where the actual reaction normally takes place, separately - i.e. put the active species in the spotlight! For the first time, the changing detailed structural and electronic properties of all the different parts of a homogeneous catalyst, as well as all the different intermediates, will be monitored, providing unprecedented insights into its function and mechanism and how different parts of the catalyst system work together cooperatively towards achieving the required performance. This knowledge is essential to develop existing and new catalytic processes towards more sustainable ones, using more abundant and cheaper metals, making less by-products and using less energy.
My long experience in the field of X-ray spectroscopy, developing techniques, including set-ups and instrumentation as well as analysis/theoretical approaches, for the broad range of catalysts and materials, make me ideally suitable to develop the challenging X-ray techniques and methodologies as proposed in this project. The built of a lab X-ray spectrometer will give off-synchrotron access to detailed structural and electronic information on materials and will be unique in the Netherlands.


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Prof. dr. M. Tromp

Verbonden aan

Universiteit van Amsterdam, Faculteit der Natuurwetenschappen, Wiskunde en Informatica, Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS)


B van der Bosch MSc, Dr. D.J. Martin, Dr. D.J. Martin, Dr. D.J. Martin, J.-P.H. Oudsen, Prof. dr. M. Tromp


01/09/2015 tot 31/08/2020