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

(07/11/2018) Dave and the group are featured in the latest edition of the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department's Newsletter, Mass Transfer!

(06/22/2018) Megan's work on selective C-O bond cleavage over Ni and NixPy catalysts is accepted by ACS Catalysis! Congrats!

(06/21/2018) Daniel is awarded a School of Chemical Sciences Graduate Teaching Award! Great work!

(06/08/2018) Daniel, Ami, and Alayna's work on catalytic thiophene oxidation was accepted by the Journal of Catalysis. Good work, team!

All News

Recent Publications

[46] Megan E. Witzke, Abdulrahman Almithn, Christian Coonrod, David Hibbitts, and David W. Flaherty, “Mechanisms and Active Sites for C-O Bond Rupture within 2-Methyltetrahydrofuran over Nickel Phosphide Catalysts ACS Catal. 20188, 7141-7157.

[45] Daniel T. Bregante, Ami Y. Patel, Alayna M. Johnson, and David W. Flaherty, “Catalytic Thiophene Oxidation by Groups 4 and 5 Framework-Substituted Zeolites with Hydrogen Peroxide: Mechanistic and Spectroscopic Evidence for the Effects of Metal Lewis Acidity and Solvent Lewis Basicity J. Catal. 2018364, 415-425.

[44] 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 J. Catal. 2018361, 290-302.

Full Publication List

Group Meeting Schedule


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