Catalysis for the synthesis of fine chemicals
Catalysis is studied to explore the fundamental reactivity of carbon-based molecules and discover new ways to make or break bonds. Much of our work eyes unmet needs in the wider community and is often done in collaboration with leading chemical and pharmaceutical companies. As well as providing more efficient methods, catalysis can open new pathways to access molecules that could not easily be obtained otherwise. The Department has tremendous expertise in developing metal-, small molecule- and enzyme-mediated catalysis, application to target synthesis, and determining reaction mechanisms to facilitate development of new and further improved processes.
Catalysis for chemical biology and bioinorganic chemistry
Catalysis may allow chemically complex biological markers such as carbohydrates, proteins, nucleotides and secondary metabolites to be modified in order to understand or exploit biological function. Nature’s catalytic machinery can also be harnessed, immobilized, modified, and exploited to provide biotechnology solutions for fine chemical synthesis. Biologically derived methods also provide opportunities to explore single-molecule methods, reactions in unusual environments such as picolitre compartments and immobilized phases and allow mechanistic studies to understand the chemistry of catalysis which underpins important aspects of biology.
Catalysis for energy applications
Research in this sub–theme is focussed on providing solutions for new energy storage and generation solutions (for example fuel cell catalysis), and the cleaner, efficient and selective processing of key bulk chemicals used in transporting energy – such as petrochemicals.
Catalysis for the synthesis of new functional materials and molecules
Catalysis underpins the development of modern materials chemistry, and a number of groups are developing new catalytic methodologies for the production of new high–performance polymers, and the synthesis of new molecular materials that have specific, and tailored, electronic, structural and functional properties.
Catalysis using renewable and recyclable feedstocks
Catalysis is central to the efficient use of anthropomorphically derived CO2 and a number of groups are actively investigating the development of innovative catalysts that use CO2 as a chemical feedstock for the production of a wide variety of useful chemicals. The development of catalysts that offer fine control over the formation of polymers from renewable or recyclable bio-derived feedstocks that have applications as bio-renewable polymers, elastomers, coatings, matrices for tissue engineering or antimicrobial surfaces.
Catalysis also crosses many themes within Chemistry, including Advanced Functional Materials and Interfaces, Chemistry at the Interface of Biology and Medicine, Kinetics, Dynamics and Mechanism, Energy and Sustainable Chemistry, Synthesis and Theory and Modelling of Complex Systems.
Researchers associated with this theme
Simon Aldridge, Ed Anderson, Fraser Armstrong, Jonathan Burton, Richard Compton, Steve Davies, Ben Davis, Darren Dixon, Tim Donohoe, Peter Edwards, Stephen Fletcher, John Foord, Jose Goicoechea, Veronique Gouverneur, Robert Jacobs, Stuart Mackenzie, John McGrady, Philip Mountford, Dermot O'Hare, Robert Paton, Jeremy Robertson, Martin Smith, Amber Thompson, Edman Tsang, Kylie Vincent, Andrew Weller, Charlotte Williams, Michael Willis, Luet Wong, Tiancun Xiao.