Research

Research Interests: Nanoparticles and Catalysis for Green Chemistry

Our group focuses on synthesising, characterizing and studying novel, and simple catalysts, based on metal nanoparticles, ionic liquids and/or cellulose nanocrystals in order to propose innovative and recyclable catalysts for organic reactions.

Magnetic Nanoparticles as Green Catalysts

Magnetic Nanoparticles as Green Catalysts: We use iron oxides, reduced iron and mixed iron/transition metal nanoparticles as simple, stabilizer-free and non-functionalized magnetic nanocatalysts for green organic synthesis. We study reactions of coupling, hydrogenation, C-H activiation and oxidation. We recently demonstratated that iron-iron oxide core-shell nanoparticles are active in the hydrogenation of olefins in ethanol and in the presence of water.

Mechanochemical Synthesis of Nanoparticles

We have recently demonstrated the mechanochemical synthesis of monodisperse AuNPs by mechanochemical galvanic reduction of HAuCl4 in the presence of terminal monoalkylamines as capping agents. The reduction of HAuCl4 was achieved without the need for external reductants by the action of the stainless steel milling assembly. The size of the resulting ultra-small AuNPs (diameter from 1 nm -2 nm) was found to be readily controlled by the length of the alkyl chain on the capping agent, as well as by milling time.

Nanocrystallites of Cellulose as support for catalysis

Cellulose Nanocrystallites (CNCs) are nano whiskers (150 x 5 nm) composed of highly crystalline cellulose. This material can be processed from wood and has found applications as a coating agent and reinforcing material. We very recently showed that this material could also be used to support palladium nanoparticles, and fabricated a well defined hybrid material, PdNPs@CNCs, consisting of monodisperse PdNPs evenly deposited onto colloidal CNCs. The resulting material was active in the hydrogenation of phenol to cyclohexanone in water under very mild conditions and the Heck coupling.

Functionalized Ionic Liquids as Improved Stabilizers of Nanocatalysts

We synthesized a family of functionalized ionic liquids composed of phosphines or thiols linked to an imidazolium ring through an alkyl spacer. These stabilizers serve in the synthesis of transition metal nanoparticles. We used the phosphine/imidazolium series to stabilize palladium and rhodium NPs. These FIL stabilized NPs were active and recyclable catalysts for the hydrogenation of alkenes and arenes under mild conditions. We reported a dependence of the catalytic activity on the structural parameters of the FIL.

Relevent publications:
Green Chem., 2012, 14, 1736-1742.
ChemCatChem, 2012, 10.1002/cctc.201100366.
Can. J. Chem., 2012, 90, 145-152.
Catal. Today, 2012, 183, 96-100
Adv. Synth. Catal., 2011, 353 (17), 3167–3177.

 

 

Collaborations:

  • Yasuhiro Uozumi, IMS, Okazaki, Japan, website
  • Subhasis Ghoshal, Civil Engineering, McGill University, website
  • Chao-Jun Li, Chemistry, McGill University, website
  • Nadi Braidy, Département de génie chimique et de génie biotechnologique, Université Sherbrooke, website
  • Tomislav Friščić, Chemistry, McGill University, website