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Professor Enrique Iglesia Delivers the Jeanne and Martin Sussman Lecture

Enrique Iglesia

On Monday, March 15, 2010, Professor Enrique Iglesia, chair of the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of California at Berkeley, presented the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department's Jeanne and Martin Sussman Lecture.

Professor Iglesia's presentation was entitled Nanostructures and Nanospaces in Catalysis.

The surface reactivity of small metal and oxide domains changes markedly as their local structure and electronic properties vary with size. As a result, small domains provide active sites with reactivity and selectivity unavailable on surfaces of larger structures with similar composition. Turnover rates for oxidation and acid catalysis depend on the ability of oxide nanostructures to stabilize anionic species at the relevant transition states, which reflects, in turn, their electronic structure, determined by the size and composition of these domains. The size and shape of metal clusters determine the coordinative unsaturation of atoms at reactive surfaces. Atoms with low coordination, prevalent on small clusters, lead to stable transition states and to more reactive surfaces in the cleavage of chemical bonds during activation of alkanes. Such atoms can also stabilize reactants, such as chemisorbed oxygen atoms, and make them less reactive when such species are used to abstract hydrogen atoms in kinetically-relevant C-H activation steps. Voids and pockets of molecular dimensions can contain and protect active structures and, in doing so, select the reactants that access them and the products that form. Specifically, they prevent coalescence of small clusters and contact of active sites with toxic impurities, while allowing the preferential conversion of smaller reactants and the stabilization of specific transition states. These confinement effects confer enzyme-like specificity in acid catalysis through processes that involve selective stabilization of transition states with higher entropy or lower enthalpy at specific locations within nanometer-sized voids.

Speaker Bio:
Enrique Iglesia is the Theodore Vermeulen Chair in Chemical Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, a Faculty Senior Scientist at the E.O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the Director of the Berkeley Catalysis Center. He holds degrees in chemical engineering from Princeton University (B.S. 1977) and Stanford University (Ph.D. 1982). In 1993, he moved to Berkeley after research and management positions at the Exxon Corporate Research Labs.

Professor Iglesia is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Catalysis, and the President of the North American Catalysis Society. His research and teaching have been recognized with the ACS George A. Olah Award in Hydrocarbon Chemistry, the AIChE Richard H. Wilhelm Award in Chemical Reaction Engineering, the Paul H. Emmett and Robert Burwell Awards of the Catalysis Society, the Humboldt Senior Scientist Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Tanabe Prize Acid-Base Catalysis, and the Donald Sterling Noyce Teaching Prize, the highest recognition for teaching in the physical sciences at Berkeley.

Professor Iglesia has co-authored more than 250 publications and 40 patents. His research interests are in heterogeneous catalysis and chemical reaction engineering with emphasis on materials and processes relevant in energy use, synthesis of chemicals and fuels, and prevention and abatement of environmental impacts.

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