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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

(6/24/2022) Congratulations to Claudia on winning the Second Place Graduate Student Poster Prize at the 2022 Gordon Research Conference on Catalysis!

(6/2022) Claudia and Jason present posters at the 2022 Gordon Research Conference on Catalysis! Great job!

(6/10/2022) Congratulations to Danim and Yao on their recent publication in Reaction Chemistry and Engineering! They show how mechanistic insight and measurements of apparent kinetics for productive and non-productive reaction pathways guide the development of semi-batch reactors and reaction conditions for stable production of carboxylic acids and diacids over supported tungstates.

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Recent Publications

[83] Danim Yun, Zhongyao Zhang, David W. Flaherty, "Catalyst and Reactor Design Considerations for Selective Production of Acids by Oxidative Cleavage of Alkenes with H2O2", React. Chem. Eng. 2022.

[81] Yang Sik Yun, Claudia E. Berdugo-Díaz, Jing Luo, David G. Barton, Ida Chen, Jieun Lee, David W. Flaherty, "The Importance of Brønsted Acid Sites on C-O Bond Rupture Selectivities during Hydrogenation and Hydrogenolysis of Esters", J. Catal. 2022411, 212-225.

[80] E. Zeynep Ayla, Darshan Patel, Arzam Harris, David W. Flaherty, "Identity of the Metal Oxide Support Controls Outer Sphere Interactions that Change Rates and Barriers for Alkene Epoxidations at Isolated Ti Atoms", J. Catal. 2022411, 167-176.

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