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Photocatalysts with Single-Atoms Supported on Carbon Nitride for Hydrogen Transfer Reactions

Grant number: 23/13283-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2024
Effective date (End): January 31, 2025
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Inorganic Chemistry
Principal Investigator:Ivo Freitas Teixeira
Grantee:Pietra Flores Rainho Martins
Host Institution: Centro de Ciências Exatas e de Tecnologia (CCET). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:20/14741-6 - Graphitic carbon nitrides as platforms for single-atom photocatalysis: moving towards design principles for improved performance, AP.JP


In industrial processes, such as the hydrogenation of unsaturated organic molecules, the high energy demand is a huge challenge to be overcome, a challenge that keeps on growing exponentially with the modernization of such industries. This issue redirects the attention of various researchers to the largest, yet underutilized source of renewable energy: the sun. To achieve a viable and effective process converting solar energy into chemical energy, a catalyst capable of operating in the visible light spectrum is necessary, such as crystalline carbon nitrides in poly (heptazine imides) form. These are semiconductors with simple and efficient synthesis, capable of coordinating single atoms of catalytic metals, ideal for semi-hydrogenation and other reduction reactions through a process known as hydrogen transfer, a refined approach in hydrogenations that by-pass the need and employment of molecular H2. In this project, the goal is to synthesize hybrid catalysts, stabilizing Platinum, Palladium and Nickel single atoms in crystalline carbon nitrides, i.e. poly (heptazine imides) (PHI), via a cation exchange method, obtaining a material with the right potential to hydrogenate unsaturated organic molecules. This material will be applied in hydrogen transfer reactions powered by light, aiming to use water and other green sources as the proton's source, eliminating the need for gaseous hydrogen, a challenging process due to water's high thermodynamic stability. We plan to optimize the reaction conditions for the hydrogenation of C=C bond and reduction of nitro groups, obtaining an alternative, sustainable, and economically viable route for this essential process in the chemical industry.

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