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Breakthrough in solar driven organic synthesis using cheap catalyst

Researchers from the groups of Flemming Besenbacher and Nina Lock at the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO) at Aarhus University and Synfuels China Technology Co. Ltd. demonstrate the commercial potential of solar driven N-N coupling reactions in a new study published in Nature Communications.

2018.01.11 | Rasmus Rørbæk

(Photo: Colourbox)

Using solar energy to drive catalytic reactions (photocatalysis) has attracted significant attention for decades but industrial application of photocatalysis is still difficult due to low efficiency and selectivity.

Recently, in collaboration with Synfuels China Technology Co. Ltd., researchers show that a cheap graphitic C3N4 photocatalyst can be used for selective syntheses of a series of expensive azo- and azoxy-aromatic compounds from their corresponding nitro-aromatics under solar irradiation. It was demonstrated that the reaction is scalable in volume and concentration.

In the just published work in Nature Communications, iNANO PhD student Yitao Dai has elaborately explained the reaction mechanism, which may lead to optimized catalyst design in the future.

The paper can be downloaded via Natures homepage (open source)

This work is supported by the NSFC (National Natural Science Foundation of China), the Sino-Danish Centre (SDC), the Villum Foundation Young Investigator Programme, the Danish National Research Foundation and the Carlsberg Foundation.

Nina Lock,
The interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO),
Aarhus University
Email: nlock@chem.au.dk

Flemming Besenbacher,
The interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO),
Aarhus University
Email: fbe@inano.au.dk

Science and Technology, Public / media