Megan E. Witzke
witzke2 at Illinois dot edu
Project Description: Metal phosphide catalysts (e.g., Ni2P, MoP) catalyze using H2 selective cleavage of heteroatoms (S, N, O) from petroleum and biomass intermediates, producing cleaner burning fuels and higher value chemicals by preserving C-C bonds. The nature of the active site (i.e., metal vs. acid) is probed by measuring rates and selectivities for cleaving specific C-O and C-C bonds by selectively inhibiting metal and acid sites. Rate measurements for model oxygenates (e.g., 2-methyltetrahydrofuran, anisole) are analyzed and modeled using a system of elementary steps in order to determine mechanisms for C-O bond rupture and to analyze how rates and rate constants change as a function of reactant pressure, temperature, and catalyst structure.
Honors and Awards:
- [2017 – 2018] TechnipFMC Fellowship
- [2013 – 2017] National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
- [2015, 2017] Hanratty Travel Award, UIUC
-  ACS Catalysis Division Registration Waiver Award
-  University of Illinois Engineering Council’s Society Member of the Month
- [2015 – 2016] Mavis Future Faculty Fellow, UIUC
-  List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students
-  ACS Catalysis Science and Technology Division Travel Award
-  AIChE Women’s Initiative Committee Travel Award
-  Monroe J. Bahnsen Award for Distinguished Research, CWRU
-  Diebold Community Foundation Scholarship
- [2011 – 2013] Case Alumni Association, Junior Senior Scholarship
7. M. Cordon, J. Harris, J. C. Vega-Vila, S. Kaur, M. Gupta, M. Witzke, E. Wegener, J. T. Miller, D. W. Flaherty, D. D. Hibbitts, and R. Gounder, “The Dominant Role of Entropy in Stabilizing Sugar Isomerization Transition States within Hydrophobic Zeolite Pores” In Review, J. Am. Chem. Soc.
6. M. Witzke, A. Almithn, C. Coonrod, D. Hibbitts, and D.W. Flaherty, “Mechanisms and Active Sites for C-O Bond Rupture within 2-Methyltetrahydrofuran over Nickel Phosphide Catalysts” ACS Catal. Vol. 8, 7141 (2018).
5. C. De Vos, J. Baneton, M. Witzke, J. Dille, S. Godet, M. Gordon, R. M. Sankaran, F. Reniers, “A comparative study of the reduction of silver and gold salts in water by a cathodic microplasma electrode,” J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys, Vol. 50, 105206 (2017).
4. M. Witzke, P. J. Dietrich, M. Ibrahim, K. Al-Bardan, M. Triezenberg, and D. W. Flaherty, “Spectroscopic evidence for origins of size and support effects on selectivity of Cu nanoparticle dehydrogenation catalysts,” Chem. Commun., Vol. 53, 597 (2017).
3. Rumbach, M. Witzke, R. M. Sankaran, and D. B. Go, “Decoupling interfacial reactions between plasmas and liquids: Charge transfer vs. plasma neutral reactions,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., Vol. 135, 16264 (2013).
2. Witzke, P. Rumbach, D. B. Go, and R. M. Sankaran, “Evidence for the electrolysis of water by atmospheric-pressure plasmas formed at the surface of aqueous solutions,” J. Phys. D: App. Phys., Vol. 45, 442001 (2012).
1. Richmonds, M. Witzke, B. Bartling, S. W. Lee, J. Wainright, C. C. Liu, and R. M. Sankaran, “Electron transfer reactions at the plasma-liquid interface,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., Vol. 133, 17582 (2011).