Research Areas

Catalysis Science

This program accepts and reviews proposals continuously under the annual FOA entitled, “Continuation of Solicitation for the Office of Science Financial Assistance Program.pdf file (377KB)”. However, only the proposals received by December 04, 2017, will be guaranteed consideration for funding within fiscal year 2018. Preproposals or white papers are strongly encouraged for all new proposals and should be submitted well in advance. Please contact the program managers prior to submission.

This research area supports basic research pursuing novel catalyst design and quantum- and molecular-level control of chemical transformations relevant to the sustainable conversion of energy resources. Emphasis is on the understanding of reaction mechanisms, enabling precise identification and manipulation of catalytic active sites, their environments, and reaction conditions for optimized efficiency and selectivity. Elucidation of reaction pathways in diverse environments comprises a central component of the program, with specific focus areas involving: (1) study of structure-reactivity relationships of solid and molecular catalysts, including chemistry in aqueous environments and chemistry at complex interfaces; (2) design of catalysts for efficient interconversion of electrical and chemical energy, including investigation of charge transport dynamics and reactivity relevant to electrocatalytic reactions as well as thermally excited redox conversions in solution or at interfaces; (3) development of novel time-resolved spectroscopic techniques and structural probes for in situ/operando characterization of catalytic processes, including ultrafast bond formation and transition state conversion, as well as slower ionic or atomic or molecular species rearrangements during reaction; (4) examination of the dynamics of catalyst and electronic structures occurring during catalytic cycles and deactivation; (5) investigation of emerging approaches to direct catalytic transformations in multicomponent mixtures, multiple reactions, and integrated processes; and (6) advanced theory, modeling, and data-science approaches to mechanism identification, catalyst discovery and development.

A long-term objective is to promote the convergence of heterogeneous, homogeneous, and bio- catalysis as a means to discover novel inorganic, organic, and hybrid catalysts selective for fuel and chemical production from both fossil and renewable feedstocks. Another enduring goal is to maximize the atom and energy efficiency of chemical transformations. This activity is especially receptive to novel and emerging approaches to fundamentally understand and manage complexity at various levels: active site structure and superstructure, feedstock molecular diversity and variability, multiple sources of excitation (thermal, electrical, electromagnetic), transient and discontinuous operation, and non-linear chaotic kinetics behavior. It also encourages integrated theory-experiment and predictive theoretical catalysis supported by data-intensive strategies.

This research area does not support: (1) the study of transformations appropriate for pharmaceutical applications; (2) non-catalytic stoichiometric reactions; (3) whole cell or organismal catalysis; (4) process or reactor design and optimization; or (5) the development of specific energy technologies.

To obtain more information about this research area, please see our Core Research Area description and the proceedings of our Principal Investigators' Meetings. To better understand how this research area fits within the Department of Energy's Office of Science, please refer to the Basic Energy Science's organization chart.pdf file (131KB) and budget request.

Other questions about this research area should be addressed to the Program Managers, Dr. Viviane Schwartz and Dr. Chris Bradley.

Last modified: 10/16/2017 4:07:53 PM