The core of the IMASC research approach is to integrate fundamental studies of model systems with the design, synthesis and testing of mesoporous catalysts spanning a vast range of pressures, temperatures and materials complexity. Theory and experiment are being combined to establish and test general principles that control reactivity and selectivity. Our team focuses on metallic alloy catalyst materials that have dual functionality. The principal design feature of the catalyst material is to combine a minor amount of active metal that facilitates creation of reactive intermediates with a less active majority phase that transforms these intermediates to desirable products with high selectivity. IMASC research, based on active and inclusive management, is strategically organized into three Focus Areas to tackle some of the most important energy challenges facing the nation.
The IMASC research specifically addresses the grand challenge of “How do we design and perfect atom- and energy efficient synthesis of revolutionary new forms of matter with tailored properties.” The "revolutionary" feature here is the design of catalysts that uniquely combine atomic reactive sites and the host properties to achieve behavior controllably different than that of either individual component.
Introducing IMASC Sr. Investigator
Prof. Joanna Aizenberg is Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Materials Science in John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Professor of Chemistry & Chemical Biology in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. She is Director of Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and Technology as well as a Core Member of Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Prof. Aizenberg’s research group pursues a broad range of research directions that include biomimetics, self-assembly, crystal engineering, surface chemistry, nanofabrication, adaptive materials and porous composite materials for catalysis, sensing, and environmental applications.
As an IMASC Principal Investigator, Aizenberg and her team are involved in developing, synthesizing and studying new highly-active and selective modular composite heterogeneous catalysts featuring an unprecedented level of control over their porosity, hierarchical structure, nature, amount, and spatial positioning of catalytically active nanoparticles of chosen chemical compositions. The expertise of Aizenberg’s team allows IMASC to deeply engage into rational design of bi- and multi-metallic catalysts for selective oxidations, hydrogenations, and other catalytic processes, whose direction and efficiency can benefit from these novel structures