Multifunctional Nanostructured Catalysts: From New Synthetic Methods to their Potential Applications

2012 Spring Symposium

Tewodros Ase­fa
Depart­ment of Chem­istry and Chem­i­cal Biol­o­gy, and Depart­ment of Chem­i­cal and Bio­chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing
Rut­gers, The State Uni­ver­si­ty of New Jer­sey

Abstract — The devel­op­ment of nov­el nano­ma­te­ri­als with unique struc­tures enables fun­da­men­tal stud­ies at the nanoscale, which can lead to var­i­ous inter­est­ing appli­ca­tions. In this talk, efforts by my research group over the last few years on three dif­fer­ent, but relat­ed, areas will be dis­cussed. In the first part, I will describe how the ratio­nal assem­bly of mul­ti­func­tion­al nanos­truc­tured mate­ri­als com­posed of met­al oxides, car­bon nanofibers, metal­lic nanopar­ti­cles, organocat­a­lysts or organometal­lic com­plex­es leads to nov­el nanocat­a­lysts for effi­cient syn­er­gis­tic cat­alyt­ic reac­tions or for mul­ti-step in one-pot tan­dem reac­tions of var­i­ous organ­ic com­pounds. The effects of how two or mul­ti­ple cat­alyt­ic groups that are co-placed with­in nanoscale cav­i­ties do syn­er­gis­ti­cal­ly cat­alyze reac­tions will be demon­strat­ed. Fur­ther­more, by plac­ing these cat­a­lysts in fixed bed reac­tors, con­tin­u­ous reac­tions to selec­tive prod­ucts has been demon­strat­ed.

Speaker’s Biog­ra­phy — Ted­dy Ase­fa was born in Ethiopia where he also com­plet­ed his B.Sc. degree in Chem­istry with dis­tinc­tion in 1992 from Addis Aba­ba Uni­ver­si­ty, Ethiopia. He came to the Unit­ed States as a Ful­bright Schol­ar in 1996 to do his grad­u­ate study. After a brief stay at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Delaware, he joined the Insti­tute for Lasers, Pho­ton­ics and Bio­pho­ton­ics (ILPB) at the State Uni­ver­si­ty of New York at Buf­fa­lo to com­plete his M.Sc. in Chem­istry in 1998 with Pro­fes­sor Paras N. Prasad. Ted­dy, then, went to Toron­to, Cana­da to com­plete his Ph.D. at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to in 2002 with Pro­fes­sor Geof­frey A. Ozin. While at Toron­to, he has co-invent­ed new class­es of nanocom­pos­ite mate­ri­als called Peri­od­ic Meso­porous Organosil­i­cas (PMOs) that are cur­rent­ly draw­ing wide range of inter­est world-wide. He was then an invit­ed Miller Fel­low­ship nom­i­nee by Pro­fes­sor Pei­dong Yang at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia at Berke­ley and a post-doc­tor­al fel­low at McGill Uni­ver­si­ty with Pro­fes­sor R. Bruce Lennox. Ted­dy then joined the fac­ul­ty at Syra­cuse Uni­ver­si­ty in the sum­mer of 2005 and served as an Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor of Chem­istry for four years before mov­ing to Rut­gers as an Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor. He is cur­rent­ly a joint Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor in the Depart­ment of Chem­istry and Chem­i­cal Biol­o­gy and the Depart­ment of Chem­i­cal and Bio­chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing at Rut­gers Uni­ver­si­ty at New Brunswick. He is also a mem­ber of the Rut­gers Insti­tute for Mate­ri­als, Devices, and Nan­otech­nol­o­gy (IAMDN) and the Rut­gers Ener­gy Insti­tute (REI). In Decem­ber 2009, he helped putting togeth­er the new­ly formed Rut­gers Catal­y­sis Research Cen­ter (RCRC). His group at Rut­gers is involved in the devel­op­ment of syn­thet­ic meth­ods to a wide array of func­tion­al nano­ma­te­ri­als and the inves­ti­ga­tion of their poten­tial appli­ca­tions in catal­y­sis, tar­get­ed deliv­ery of drugs at spe­cif­ic cells, nanocy­to­tox­i­c­i­ty, solar-cells, and envi­ron­men­tal reme­di­a­tion. He is an NSF CAREER Awardee, holds NSF Cre­ativ­i­ty Award, and is a recent Nation­al Sci­ence Foun­da­tion Amer­i­can Com­pet­i­tive­ness Fel­low (NSF-ACIF) for 2010, and also is a recip­i­ent of mul­ti­ple fed­er­al and local research grants and also serves as a pan­elist for sev­er­al fed­er­al and inter­na­tion­al agen­cies. He was recent­ly award­ed the Rut­gers Board of Trustees Fel­low­ships for Schol­ar­ly excel­lence, the high­est hon­or giv­en to young pro­fes­sors at Rut­gers.