Abolfazl “Nabi” Shakouri


Most of the chemical reactions happen on the surface of a catalyst. Therefore, to convert raw material to useful and added-value chemicals, having catalysts with more surface area lead to the fast production of added-value chemicals. The best catalysts out there usually are the most expensive metals like platinum, ruthenium, gold, silver, and etc. So, having a high surface area relative to the amount of these catalysts is a challenge in chemical industries. Also, in most chemical reactions, we are not lucky to get the desired products and there are always some unwanted chemicals forming during the process. So, often we need a specific structure of atoms on the surface of the catalysts to form the desired chemicals. Nanotechnology solves the surface area needed for doing a chemical reaction on the surface of the expensive catalysts by providing very high surface area per unit of mass using a very small amount of expensive catalysts. Stable isolated site catalysts could be a bridge between homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis promising well-defined and highly selective active centers. I have developed several catalysts using what is generally called rational catalyst synthesis methods in which I am able to control the structure of the nano-catalysts down to the atomic scale. Thus, I can engineer the surface of those super small catalyst nanoparticles to provide the desired functionality of interest. Advances in catalyst synthesis to produce a catalyst that is much more active, selective and stable with scalable methods will greatly advance the ability of the nation to utilize its resources in support of chemical manufacturing industries and the well-being of the next generations.