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

(6/1/2021) AAAS and EurekAlert! released a nice write-up about our recent work about hydrogen peroxide synthesis over palladium-gold nanoparticles, published in JACS. Check out the news release here!

(5/21/2021) Our collaborative work with the Rodríguez-López lab on the relationships between electro- and thermocatalysis for H2O2 production was accepted by JACS!! Great work by Jason and co-authors, check it out here.

(5/14/2021) David wins 1st poster prize at the CCC Spring Symposium for 2021. Congratulations!!

(5/1/2021) Melissa was selected as a Clare Boothe Luce Research Scholar for the 2021-2022 academic year. She was one of eight selected for the program this year, which supports women undergraduates who aim to pursue graduate studies in STEM. Congratulations Melissa!! Read more about the program here.

(4/30/2021) Chris and Jason were selected to the Mavis Future Faculty Fellow program for the 2021-2022 academic year! The program supports and trains graduate students who aim to become future faculty in STEM. Congratulations Chris and Jason!! Read more about the Mavis program here.

(4/20/2021) Chris passes his preliminary exam and is now officially a PhD candidate. Congratulations Chris, great work!!

Our work on the effect of bromide adsorption for H2O2 synthesis over Pd nanoparticles was accepted by Journal of Catalysis! Congratulations to Pranjali and co-authors!

(4/16/2021) Claudia received an LAS Impact Award for her efforts to maintain undergraduate training and research mentorship during the pandemic. Inspiring work, thank you and congratulations Claudia!

(4/6/2021) David was awarded a 2021 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Congratulations!! Read about it here.

(3/24/2021) Our work on the effects of active site structure for H2O2 synthesis over PdAu catalysts was accepted by JACS!! Congratulations to Tomas and co-authors, and thank you to our collaborators at Minnesota and Virginia Tech! Check it out here.

Recent Publications

[72] Daniel T. Bregante, Matthew Chan, Jun Zhi Tan, E. Zeynep Ayla, Christopher P. Nicholas, Diwakar Shukla, David W. Flaherty, “The Shape of Water in Zeolites and its Impact on Epoxidation Catalysis", Accepted. (ChemRxiv).

[71] Jason Adams, Matthew Kromer, Joaquín Rodríguez-López, David Flaherty, "Unifying Concepts in Electro- and Thermocatalysis towards Hydrogen Peroxide Production", J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143, 7940-7957.

[70] Pranjali Priyadarshini, Tomas Ricciardulli, Jason S. Adams, Yang Sik Yun, David W. Flaherty, "Effects of Bromide Adsorption on the Direct Synthesis of H2O2 on Pd Nanoparticles: Formation Rates, Selectivities, and Apparent Barriers at Steady-State", J. Catal. 2021, 399, 24-40.

[69] Tomas Ricciardulli, Sahithi Gorthy, Jason Adams, Coogan Thompson, Ayman Karim, Matthew Neurock, David Flaherty, “Effect of Pd Coordination and Isolation on the Catalytic Reduction of O2 to H2O2 over PdAu Bimetallic Nanoparticles”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143, 5445-5464.

[67] Danim Yun, E. Zeynep Ayla, Daniel Bregante, David Flaherty, "Reactive Species and Reaction Pathways for the Oxidative Cleavage of 4-Octene and Oleic Acid with H2O2 over Tungsten Oxide Catalysts", ACS Catal. 2021, 11, 3137-3152.

[66] Jason S. Adams, Ashwin Chemburkar, Pranjali Priyadarshini, Tomas Ricciardulli, Yubing Lu, Ayman M. Karim, Stuart Winikoff, Matthew Neurock, and David W. Flaherty, “Solvent Molecules Form Surface Redox Mediators In Situ and Cocatalyze O2 Reduction on PdScience 2021, 371, 626-632.

[65] Zhongyao Zhang, Jennifer Wilson, Brian Kitt, David Flaherty, “Effects of Oxygen Plasma Treatments on Surface Functional Groups and Shear Strength of Carbon Fiber CompositesACS Appl. Polym. Mater. 2021, 3, 986-995.

E. Zeynep Ayla, David S. Potts, Daniel T. Bregante, and David W. Flaherty, “Alkene Epoxidation with H2O2 over Group 4-6-Metal Substituted BEA Zeolites: Reactive Intermediates, Reaction Pathways, and Linear Free Energy RelationshipsACS Catal. 2021, 11, 139-154.

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