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Home > News > Janus Catalysts Direct Nanoparticle Reactivity

January 2nd, 2010

Janus Catalysts Direct Nanoparticle Reactivity

I'm going to set you a challenge. Go and make a cup of tea. Add milk and sugar, and stir well. Now, please get just the sugar back out for me. Difficult, isn't it? The same problem faces chemists who want to make synthetic products more environmentally friendly. Soluble compounds that are used to speed up desired reactions—homogeneous catalysts—can end up in final products, where they pose a nightmare of a separation problem. Ideally, if these catalysts could be completely recovered, they could be recycled and kept out of the products, in which they could be toxic even at trace levels. One general approach to recovering such catalysts is "phase transfer," which takes advantage of the different solubility of compounds in water versus organic solvents.


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