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Welcome to the Flaherty Research Group!

Our research focuses on the overlapping topics of catalysis, surface science, and materials synthesis. The goal is to determine the mechanisms of individual elementary steps and competing pathways for chemical reactions important for best utilizing our limited fossil resources and biomass. To unravel complicated networks of reactions, we utilize steady-state kinetic measurements, transient and perturbation techniques, and in situ spectroscopy. With detailed knowledge of how a reaction proceeds we can better design processes and catalysts to selectively promote desirable reactions over the undesirable pathways.

In order to construct develop clear relationships between the composition and structure of catalytic sites and the chemistry they promote, it is critical to use uniform and well-characterized materials. This is achieved using advanced synthetic methods which take advantage of strong chemical driving forces to self-assemble the desired catalytic site.

Projects in our group are motivated by the need to efficiently process recalcitrant petrochemicals, selectively transform biomass, develop alternatives for harmful oxidants, and produce clean burning fuels. Our intention is to make insightful contributions to the scientific community; to explore possible solutions to industrially and socially relevant problems, and to educate and train young researchers.

Recent News

(4/6/2021) David was awarded a 2021 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Congratulations!! Read about it here.

(3/24/2021) Our work on the effects of active site structure for H2O2 synthesis over PdAu catalysts was accepted by JACS!! Congratulations to Tomas and co-authors, and thank you to our collaborators at Minnesota and Virginia Tech! Check it out here.

(2/15/2021) Claudia is awarded the SWE 2021 WE Local Rising Star Award! She was recognized as one of 16 collegiate SWE members who made outstanding contributions to the engineering community this past year. Congratulations on this great honor, Claudia!!

(2/9/2021) C&E News published a story on our recent work in Science. Thank you for the nice write-up - check it out here!

(2/9/2021) A great day for our lab - we had two papers accepted today! Congratulations to Danim for her work on oxidative cleavage over tungsten oxide catalysts (accepted in ACS Catalysis) and Gina, our collaborator from the Coperet group, for her work on CO2 hydrogenation over copper-based catalysts (accepted in Angewandte Chemie). Great work by all co-authors and collaborators involved - check out these papers!

(2/4/2021) Excited to announce that our work on solvent molecules co-catalyzing oxygen reduction reactions was published in Science! Awesome work by Jason and co-authors, including our great collaborators at Minnesota and Virginia Tech!

(1/6/2021)
Check out our latest work in ACS Applied Polymer Materials on the effects of oxygen plasma treatments on carbon fiber composites! Excellent and exciting work by Yao and collaborators!

(12/15/2020) Our work on epoxidations over groups 4-6 metal-substitued BEA zeolites was published by ACS Catalysis! Congratulations to Zeynep and co-authors!

(11/07/2020) Announcement of our new collaborative effort to manufacture renewable chemicals and fuels. We are excited and grateful for the opportunity to take on this important challenge with our talented colleagues!

All News

Recent Publications

[69] Tomas Ricciardulli, Sahithi Gorthy, Jason Adams, Coogan Thompson, Ayman Karim, Matthew Neurock, David Flaherty, “Effect of Pd Coordination and Isolation on the Catalytic Reduction of O2 to H2O2 over PdAu Bimetallic Nanoparticles”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, Accepted.

[67] Danim Yun, E. Zeynep Ayla, Daniel Bregante, David Flaherty, "Reactive Species and Reaction Pathways for the Oxidative Cleavage of 4-Octene and Oleic Acid with H2O2 over Tungsten Oxide Catalysts", ACS Catal. 2021, 11, 3137-3152.

[66] Jason S. Adams, Ashwin Chemburkar, Pranjali Priyadarshini, Tomas Ricciardulli, Yubing Lu, Ayman M. Karim, Stuart Winikoff, Matthew Neurock, and David W. Flaherty, “Solvent Molecules Form Surface Redox Mediators In Situ and Cocatalyze O2 Reduction on PdScience 2021, 371, 626-632.

[65] Zhongyao Zhang, Jennifer Wilson, Brian Kitt, David Flaherty, “Effects of Oxygen Plasma Treatments on Surface Functional Groups and Shear Strength of Carbon Fiber CompositesACS Appl. Polym. Mater. 2021, 3, 986-995.

[64]
E. Zeynep Ayla, David S. Potts, Daniel T. Bregante, and David W. Flaherty, “Alkene Epoxidation with H2O2 over Group 4-6-Metal Substituted BEA Zeolites: Reactive Intermediates, Reaction Pathways, and Linear Free Energy RelationshipsACS Catal. 2021, 11, 139-154.

[61]
Daniel T. Bregante, Jun Zhi Tan, Rebecca L. Schultz, E. Zeynep Ayla, David S. Potts, Chris Torres, and David W. Flaherty, "Catalytic Consequences of Oxidant, Alkene, and Pore Structure on Alkene Epoxidations within Titanium Silicates" ACS Catal. 2020, 10, 10169–10184.


[60] Daniel T. Bregante, David S. Potts, Ohsung Kwon, E. Zeynep Ayla, Jun Zhi Tan, David W. Flaherty, "Effects of Hydrofluoric Acid Concentration on the Density of Silanol Groups and Water Adsorption in Hydrothermally Synthesized Transition Metal Substituted Silicalite-1Chem. Mater. 202032, 7425-7437.


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