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April 2016

Recyclable catalysts

Research highlight

Chemical industries rely heavily on catalytic processes to produce many fine and bulk chemicals efficiently and selectively. These industries are always looking for new means to modify current industrial catalytic processes to make them more sustainable. As homogenous transition metal catalysts become more widely used, strategies for developing immobilised catalysts that retain the high efficiency and selectivity of the homogeneous catalysts, while allowing easy catalyst−product separation, are highly desired. The Messerle research group at the University of New South Wales and Macquarie University has developed a new experimental method for synthesising immobilised rhodium catalysts on a range of carbon surfaces, including graphene, carbon black and glassy carbon, directly from the optimised homogeneous complex (Wong C.M., Walker D.B., Soeriyadi A.H., Gooding J.J., Messerle B.A. Chem. Sci. 2016, doi: 10.1039/c5sc03787e). The immobilised complexes showed comparable catalytic efficiency and selectivity to those of the parent homogeneous catalyst for the hydrosilylation of disubstituted acetylenes. These catalysts are the most efficient reported to date for the hydrosilylation of disubstituted acetylenes. The immobilised complexes further demonstrated an advantage over the homogeneous complex as the hybrid catalysts were highly recyclable, with no leaching of rhodium over 10 catalytic cycles. This research provides a new experimental approach to developing immobilised catalysts from industrially suited homogeneous catalysts, making product separation easier.


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