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.
(03/2018) Gayatri and Rebecca join our group to work on Direct Synthesis and Green Oxidations, respectively. Welcome!
(03/05/2018) Our work on selective epoxidations was chosen as a cover article for ACS Catalysis. Congrats!
(02/27/2018) Neil's and Hongbo's papers on Direct Synthesis and Ethanol Upgrading at Accepted into ACS Catalysis and Journal of Catalysis, respectively! Congrats! Great day for the Flaherty group!
 Hongbo Zhang, Malek Y. Ibrahim, and David W. Flaherty, “Aldol Condensation among Acetaldehyde and Ethanol Reactants on TiO2: Experimental Evidence for the Kinetically Relevant Nucleophilic Attack of Enolates” Accepted, J. Catal.
 Neil M. Wilson, Yung-Ting Pan, Yu-Tsun Shao, Jian-Min Zuo, Hong Yang, and David W. Flaherty, “Direct Synthesis of H2O2 on AgPt Octahedra: The Importance of Ag-Pt Coordination for High H2O2 Selectivity” ACS Catal. 2018, 8, 2880-2889.
 Daniel T. Bregante, Nicholas E. Thornburg, Justin M. Notestein, and David W. Flaherty, “Consequences of Confinement for Alkene Epoxidation with Hydrogen Peroxide on Highly Dispersed Group 4 and 5 Metal Oxide Catalysts” ACS Catal. 2018, 8, 2995-3010.
Full Publication List
Group Meeting Schedule