I'm a PhD student in Chemistry who likes "cooking" compounds than food.


Development of a catalyst for environmental friendly and effective tandem reaction

Cooking pasta dishes requires us to prepare the sauce first and then add separately cooked pasta. Have you ever wished to streamline the process by throwing all the ingredients for the sauce and the raw pasta in one pot? Chemists also prefer to do the same thing when they synthesize compounds that require a sequence of multiple reactions. As a result, there is an effort to develop tandem reactions, processes in which several reactions are conducted in the same flask simultaneously. This is possible with the utilization of catalysts that allow the reactions to occur in the right order and in an efficient way. Tandem reactions not only reduce time and labor, but also eliminate waste generated in the sequential process.

To give an example, my project focuses on developing a catalyst for synthesis of epoxides, high-valued intermediates in polymer production. Normally, the synthesis is done by the oxidation of alkenes with commercially available hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). The current production of H2O2 involves purification, storage, and transportation which has major energy costs and safety concerns. To eliminate these steps, I integrated H2O2 synthesis and the alkene oxidation into a tandem reaction by mixing H2 gas, O2 gas, alkenes, and my catalyst in one pot. The catalyst allows H2 and O2 to react and produce H2O2, which will be simultaneously used to oxidize alkene to desired epoxide product.

Many syntheses of useful compounds around us have gained tremendous benefit from being carrying out in a tandem fashion. Check out this pinboard for more insight in these processes and learn about my research.