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.