Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
My Ph.D. research is focused on design and synthesis of interfacially cross-linked reverse micelles (ICRMs), which were stable core-shell organic nanoparticles with tunable properties. The size of their hydrophilic core, the alkyl density on the surface, and internal contents can be changed systematically. ICRMs were used as templates for preparation of metal clusters, allowing facile control of the metal composition, the size, and the organic functional groups around the clusters. In several cases, the organic functional groups of the ICRMs were used to "capture" or concentrate substrates to the encapsulated metal clusters, enabling extremely efficient catalysis as a result. Essentially, the entire metal-ICRM composite behaves like a catalytic nanomachine: the ICRM pulled the substrate to the catalytic center and the appropriately positioned metal cluster turned it into the product, which preferred the nonpolar environment in-stead of the ICRM core and was thus rapidly released. Similar principles were used in CO2 hydrogenation and greatly enhanced the catalytic efficiency of the ICRM-encapsulated palladium catalysts.
Lee, Li-Chen, "Multifunctional, tunable catalysts from interfacially cross-linked reverse micelles" (2014). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 13888.