Ece Zeynep Ayla
Project Description: Epoxides are important precursors used in the production of plastics, pharmaceuticals, fragrances, and several other fine and commodity chemicals, making up a greater than 60 billion dollar industry. The adoption of hydrogen peroxide as a "green" oxidant for the production of epoxides requires the design of catalysts with greater rates and selectivities for epoxidation over competing pathways, which in turn calls for principles to guide the design of catalysts for specific substrates. The aim of this project is to develop a fundamental understanding of structure-function relationships for groups 4-6 metals in zeolite frameworks or Ti atoms grafted on various metal oxides for the activation of H2O2 and epoxidation of alkenes. We use kinetic, spectroscopic, and calorimetric tools to characterize catalytic active sites beyond their elemental properties, which can be significantly altered when active metal centers are incorporated onto inert solid supports. Through use of in situ UV-Vis and Raman spectroscopic techniques, isothermal titration calorimetry, and rate measurements, we establish quantitative links between catalyst attributes and meaningful kinetic parameters. The relationships developed will provide guidance for methods to tune the electronic properties of the active sites to increase the rates and selectivities for environment-friendly epoxidation reactions.
Honors and Awards:
- [2017 - 2022] SURGE Fellowship
- [2013 - 2017] ASU Dean's List
- [2013 - 2017] ASU New American Scholar - President's Award
-  Bidstrup Fellowship