Tobin Marks photo: International Institute for Nanotechnology at Northwestern University

Surface Science Meets Homogeneous Catalysis. Surfaces as Ligands and Activators for Polymer Construction and Deconstruction

Monday, 29 August, 2022

Alessandro Motta is pleased to invite you to the seminar

Surface Science Meets Homogeneous Catalysis. Surfaces as Ligands and Activators for Polymer Construction and Deconstruction

by Tobin Jay Marks

Chemistry Department and the Materials Research Center, Northwestern University, Evanston (Illinois, USA)

visiting professor at the Chemistry Department, in VIII classroom, floor 1st, V. Caglioti building CU032, September 8th at 10.00 am (Google Meet link available soon)


When chemisorbed upon special surfaces, the reactivity of many organometallic molecules is dramatically altered in ways that are not well understood.  High activities for known and unknown catalytic reactions are illustrative consequences of this modified reactivity.  This lecture focuses on the intricate non-covalent and covalent multi-center interactions that modulate these catalytic processes and the advanced experimental and theoretical techniques now enabling the elucidation of their structures and reactivity, with a primary focus on olefin polymerization, hydrogenation, and depolymerization.  This knowledge has enabled the industrial production of approximately 40 billion kg of high-performance materials. Specific interrelated topics include: 1) Catalytic chemistry of molecular d0 catalysts anchored on/activated by surfaces vis-à-vis those operating in homogeneous solution, 2) Definitive structural characterization of these catalytic centers on “super-acidic” sulfated oxide surfaces. 3) Application of this knowledge to design rules for next-generation supported catalysts, for novel and useful polymerization and hydrogenation/depolymerization processes, such as detoxification of gasoline, facially selective aromatics hydrogenation, and polyolefin creation or deconstruction.  The lecture concludes with thoughts about progress towards polymers for a future circular economy. 

Marks photo Mitch jacoby Tobin Jay Marks

Tobin Marks is Vladimir N. Ipatieff Professor of Catalytic Chemistry, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Professor of Applied Physics, and Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern University. He obtained a BS degree in Chemistry from the University of Maryland and a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry from MIT. His major recognitions include the U.S. National Medal of Science, the Spanish Principe de Asturias Prize, the Materials Research Society Von Hippel Award, the Dreyfus Prize in the Chemical Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences Award in Chemical Sciences, the American Chemical Society Joseph Priestley Medal, and the Israel Harvey Prize. He is a member of the U.S., European, German, Indian, and Italian National Academies of Sciences, the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the U.S. National Academy of Inventors. He is a Fellow of the U.K. Royal Society of Chemistry, the Materials Research Society, and the American Chemical Society. He has received 150 other awards, honors, and visiting professorships. Marks has published 1355 peer-reviewed articles and holds 192 issued U.S. patents. He holds Honorary Doctorate Degrees from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the University of South Carolina, the Ohio State University, and the Technical University of Munich.

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