Lee Hsun Lecture Series
Topic: Looking Beyond the Classical N-Doping of Carbon Nanomaterials in the Preparation of Metal-Free (electro) Catalysts
Speaker: Prof. Dr. Giuliano Giambastiani
Institute of Chemistry of OrganoMetallic Compounds ICCOM-CNR,
Florence research area, Sesto Fiorentino - Florence - Italy
Time: 10:00-11:30, (Mon.) Mar.13th, 2017
Venue: Room 468, Lee Hsun Building, IMR CAS
Chemistry in general and catalysis in particular are required to answer several societal challenges that will guide research and development efforts in the decades to come. The design and synthesis of new catalytic materials and reactors based on cheap and abundant elements, preferably as single-phase and metal-free systems, featured by outstanding performance, long-life and stability under operative conditions are the beacons that guide the future innovation in key industrial processes. The last few years have witnessed a wonderful technological renaissance that boosted the development of carbon-based nanomaterials doped with light-heteroelements and featured by hierarchical porous architectures as unique catalytic materials for promoting a number of key industrial transformations. Our contribution to this field of research stems from the concept of “chemical functionalization” as an unconventional tool for the control of the chemico-physical properties of N-dopants in complex carbon nanostructures. Such a research has contributed to shed light on the underpinning mechanisms of challenging processes at the heart of renewable energy technology [i.e. the kinetically sluggish oxygen reduction reaction (ORR)] and industrial fine chemical production [i.e. C-C bond forming reactions and direct alkane dehydrogenation (DDH)]. To date, the nature of the active sites engaged in catalysis with these complex systems remains poorly understood and highly controversial. This presentation focuses on recent achievements and perspective in the field of (electro)catalysis by truly metal-free systems critically compared with the state-of-the-art.