Catalysts' outer coordination spheres take their place in the spotlight

Mar 25, 2013
Catalysts' outer coordination spheres take their place in the spotlight
Wendy Shaw wrote a comprehensive review article on outer coordination spheres.

(Phys.org) —Once dismissed as shrubbery, experimental and computational research shows the outer coordination sphere greatly influences a catalyst's effectiveness, according to Dr. Wendy Shaw at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in her invited review article. The outer coordination sphere is the complex structure that wraps around the catalyst's central active site and controls the activity, selectivity and specificity of the catalyst. Shaw's Catalysis Reviews article focuses on bottom-up design research. In this approach, aspects of the outer coordination sphere are added as needed.

"The advantage is that you can add just the features you need to get the effects you want," said Shaw.

In her article, Shaw explores studies of a minimal outer coordination sphere based on . She goes beyond these simple arrangements to examine structured peptide use. These more complex structures allow scientists to add specific positioning of an amino acid near the to change the molecular properties at the metal, controlling the catalyst's behavior. She also examines the newer area of enzyme mimics. She notes several exciting studies are using computers to design enzymes from scratch that catalyze reactions that aren't found in nature.

Looking back at the 61-page review, with 226 references, she notes that many of the catalysts fall into two categories: those that function but have undefined outer coordination spheres and those that do not work but have rigorously defined spheres. Few, such as a PNNL rhodium-based catalyst, perform the task at hand and have defined structures. For her, the takeaway message is the large influence that changes far from the active site can exert over the reactivity of the catalyst, and the power of integrating and experimentation to create functional and structurally characterized catalysts.

Explore further: Team pioneers strategy for creating new materials

More information: Shaw WJ. 2012. The Outer-Coordination Sphere: Incorporating Amino Acids and Peptides as Ligands for Homogeneous Catalysts to Mimic Enzyme Function. Catalysis Reviews 54(4):489-550. DOI: 10.1080/01614940.2012.679453

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A personality change for a catalyst

Mar 07, 2011

For more than 40 years, an ambition of catalysis science has been to persuade homogeneous catalysts to behave more like heterogeneous catalysts, while still maintaining their activity and exquisite selectivity. Professor ...

SSRL contributes to platinum-based catalyst design

Aug 15, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Researchers from two SLAC-Stanford joint institutes, the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences (SIMES) and the SUNCAT Center for Interface Science and Catalysis, recently joined ...

Recommended for you

Team pioneers strategy for creating new materials

Aug 29, 2014

Making something new is never easy. Scientists constantly theorize about new materials, but when the material is manufactured it doesn't always work as expected. To create a new strategy for designing materials, ...

Plug n' Play protein crystals

Aug 29, 2014

Almost a hundred years ago in 1929 Linus Pauling presented the famous Pauling's Rules to describe the principles governing the structure of complex ionic crystals. These rules essentially describe how the ...

Breaking benzene

Aug 27, 2014

Aromatic compounds are found widely in natural resources such as petroleum and biomass, and breaking the carbon-carbon bonds in these compounds plays an important role in the production of fuels and valuable ...

User comments : 0