Krill Prize Laureate 2018
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Mechanism-driven regulation of reactivity and selectivity in organocatalysis
The preparation of many materials that are essential for our daily life in a modern society, such as plastics, fuels and fertilizers, heavily relies on the use of catalysts. Although catalysts have been used in the chemical industry for more than a century, there are many details about their structure-reactivity correlations which are not yet clear. One of the questions that I find most intriguing in catalysis research is identifying how the physical and chemical properties of catalysts influence their reactivity. In order to address this goal I use state of the art spectroscopic tools to detect the locations
in which chemical reactions occur on the surface of single particles. Using this approach, we have recently identified that chemical reactivity primarily occurs
on the periphery of metallic particles while lower reactivity was recorded at the center of the particle. These conclusions will enable the development of optimized catalysts based on rational design.