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

(4/25/2022) Congratulations to Dave for receiving the 2022 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research from The Grainger College of Engineering!

(4/10/2022) Congratulations to Tomas for receiving a Kokes Award to attend NAM27 in New York!

(4/6/2022) Ohsung passes his preliminary exam! Congratulations to our newest PhD Candidate!

(4/4/2022) The good news continues… Congratulations to Melissa for being awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in recognition for all her accomplishments across campus and in our group with Claudia!

(4/4/2022) Jason successfully defends his thesis on the role of organic species, alloys, and support identity on H2 and O2 activation to H2O2 on metal nanoparticles. Congratulations Dr. Adams! We wish you the best of luck as you start your post-doc with the Manthiram Group at Caltech!

(3/16/2022) Congratulations to Claudia for receiving the CATL-ChemCatBio Graduate Student Travel Award! This award will support her participation in the Spring 2022 ACS National Meeting in San Diego, where she will present her work on the direct reduction of esters to ethers over supported Pd catalysts. Well done Claudia!

(3/3/2022) Abinaya successfully defends her thesis! She presented her dissertation work on examining activation of oxygen on Au using in situ surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy. Congratulations Dr. Sampath!

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Recent Publications

[79] Zhongyao Zhang, Claudia E. Berdugo-Díaz, Daniel T. Bregante, Hongbo Zhang, and David W. Flaherty, "Aldol Condensation and Esterification over Ti-Substituted *BEA Zeolite: Mechanisms and Effects of Pore Hydrophobicity", ACS Catal. 202212, 1481-1496.

[78] Jun Zhi Tan, Daniel T. Bregante, Chris Torres, David W. Flaherty, "Transition State Stabilization Depends on Solvent Identity, Pore Size, and Hydrophilicity for Epoxidation in Zeolites", J. Catal. 2022405, 91-104.

[77] Changming Liu, Devinda P. Wijewardena, Anna Sviripa, Abinaya Sampath, David W. Flaherty, Christopher Paolucci, "Computational and Experimental Insights into Reactive Forms of Oxygen Species on Dynamic Ag Surfaces under Ethylene Epoxidation Conditions", J. Catal. 2022405, 445-461.

[76] Tomas Ricciardulli, Jason S. Adams, Marco DeRidder, Alexander P. van Bavel, Ayman M. Karim, David W. Flaherty, "H2O-Assisted O2 Reduction by H2 on Pt and PtAu Bimetallic Nanoparticles: Influences of Composition and Reactant Coverages on Kinetic Regimes, Rates, and Selectivities", J. Catal. 2021404, 661-678.

[75] David S. Potts, Daniel T. Bregante, Jason S. Adams, Chris Torres, David W. Flaherty, "Influence of Solvent Structure and Hydrogen Bonding on Catalysis at Solid-Liquid Interfaces", Chem. Soc. Rev. 202150, 12308-12337.

[74] Daniel Bregante, Laura Wilcox, Changming Liu, Christopher Paolucci, Rajmani Gounder, David Flaherty, "Dioxygen Activation Kinetics over Distinct Cu Site Types in Cu-CHA Zeolites", ACS Catal. 202111, 11873-11884.

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