Defect-Engineered Metal-Organic Framework Catalysts
Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) are crystalline porous materials consisting of metal clusters coordinated to organic molecules to form 3D structures that exhibit microporosity, in a similar fashion to that of zeolites. The most typical organic linkers are dicarboxylates and imidazole ligands, along with a number of different transition and alkaline metals such as Al, Co, Fe, Zn or Ni. Their catalytic activity is accepted to result from the coordinatively unsaturated sites (CUS) of the metals within the network, but it is not yet fully understood.
The project consists in proving the existence of defects in these materials by using IR, Raman and UV-microspectroscopies in combination with soft and hard X-Ray techniques to identify vacant sites, dangling bonds and structural defects present in the coordination network. Controlled introduction of those defects enhances the activity of Lewis acid-base and redox catalytic properties of the non-functionalized parent materials. By careful design and optimization, these materials will be used in the conversion of biomass derivatives such as C5 and C6 sugars to methyl lactate or levulinic acid. Finally, a comparison between defect-engineered network (DEFNET) materials and benchmark zeolites will be done, in order to prove their real potential as industrial, scalable, heterogeneous catalysts. As an example, Fischer et al  synthesized a Ru-based material, with improved activity in olefin hydrogenation.
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DEFNET MarieCurie ITN Program
May 2015 – present
PhD Chemistry – Utrecht Universiteit – Netherlands
Defect-engineered Metal-Organic Framework Catalysts
Weckhuysen group (European network DEFNET)
Oct 2014 – Apr 2015
Research Fellow – RWTH Aachen – Germany
Homogeneous catalysts for polymer synthesis
Leitner group (collaboration with Bayer MaterialScience AG)
Sep 2012 – Sep 2014
MSc Polymer Engineering – University of Strasbourg – France
MSc Thesis at BASF SE – Ludwigshafen, Germany
New downstream melamine chemistry
Sep 2009 – Sep 2013
BSc Chemistry – University of Madrid (UAM) – Spain
BSc Thesis at AGC Europe SA – Charleroi, Belgium
Sol-gel method development for layer deposition in OLED devices
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