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.
(12/28/2017) The group's latest work on solvent effects on epoxidation within zeolites is accepted by JACS! Congrats all!
(12/10/2018) Megan successfully defends her thesis and is now Dr. Witzke! Congrats!
(12/07/2018) The group goes out for our annual Toys for Tots - Price is Right competition; team Megan, Jason, and Zeynep won! We then celebrated with a holiday dinner, good work all for a successful 2018 -- looking forward to an even better 2019!
(11/2018) Pranjali and Daniel give awesome presentations at the 2018 annual AIChE meeting. Good job!
(10/2018) Megan, Abinaya, and Dave give great talks at the annual American Vacuum Society (AVS) meeting. Great work!
(10/15/2018) Chris and Devinda join our group. Welcome, both of you!
 Daniel T. Bregante, Alayna M. Johnson, Ami Y. Patel, E. Zeynep Ayla, Michael J. Cordon, Brandon C. Bukowski, Jeffrey Greeley, Rajamani Gounder, David W. Flaherty, “Cooperative Effects between Hydrophilic Pores and Solvents: Catalytic Consequences of Hydrogen Bonding on Alkene Epoxidation in Zeolites” J. Am. Chem. Soc., ASAP.
 Michael J. Cordon, Jamie W. Harris, Juan-Carlos Vega-Vila, Sukhdeep Kaur, Mohit Gupta, Megan E. Witzke, Evan C. Wegener, Jeffrey T. Miller, David W. Flaherty, David D. Hibbitts, and Rajamani Gounder, “The Dominant Role of Entropy in Stabilizing Sugar Isomerization Transition States within Hydrophobic Zeolite Pores” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 14244-14266.
 Abinaya Sampath, SiWei A. Chang, and David W. Flaherty, "Catalytic Hydrogen Transfer and Decarbonylation of Aromatic Aldehydes on Ru and Ru Phosphide Model Catalysts” J. Phys. Chem. C 2018, 122, 23600-23609.
Full Publication List
Group Meeting Schedule