The study of catalysis is concerned with developing and understanding chemical processes that use a catalyst, a molecule that makes a desirable chemical reaction occur more rapidly without being consumed. A relatively small amount of a catalyst can facilitate many hundreds of thousands of reactions before degrading, enabling energy and resource efficiency, often at large scales. Catalytic processes are used in approximately 90% of all industrial chemical processes, and catalytic reactions are central to the pharmaceutical, chemical, and energy sectors. Thus, innovations in catalysis are critical to the preparation of new medicines, conversion of solar energy to chemical fuels, and the development of more environmentally benign methods to produce materials used by modern society.
Faculty in the Department of Chemistry are pursuing a broad array of fundamental advancements in the field of catalysis. Research efforts span homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis, metal (transition and main group) and organo-catalysis, as well as thermal, photo- and electrocatalysis. A primary focus is on the development of new catalytic materials/processes and understanding the mechanisms of those catalysts. For more information on current research that is underway in the various labs, visit the faculty websites below.