Geomimicry: Exploring Mechanisms for Mineral-catalyzed Hydrothermal Organic Reactions

Geomimicry: Exploring Mechanisms for Mineral-catalyzed Hydrothermal Organic Reactions

November 2, 2016


727 E. Tyler St.
Tempe, AZ 85287


Biodesign Institute Auditorium

Date and Time

November 10, 2016, 4:00 pm (Length: 1 hour 30 minutes)

iCal Download

Hilairy Hartnett, Ph.D., Associate Professor, ASU School of Molecular Sciences and ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration

Reactions among minerals and organic compounds in hydrothermal systems are critical components of the Earth’s deep carbon cycle; they provide energy for the deep biosphere, and they may have implications for the origins of life. However, there is limited information as to how specific minerals influence the reactivity of organic compounds. Hartnett demonstrates mineral catalysis for a variety of organic reactions, including the most fundamental component of an organic reaction: the breaking and making of a covalent bond. In particular, Hartnett will show the capacity for minerals to provide selective catalysis. In the absence of mineral, hydrothermal reaction of cis- and trans-1,2-dimethylcyclohexane is extremely slow and generates many products. In the presence of sphalerite (ZnS), the reaction rate increases dramatically and only one major product is formed: the corresponding stereoisomer. Isotope studies show that the sphalerite acts as a highly specific heterogeneous catalyst for activation of a single carbon−hydrogen bond in the dimethylcyclohexanes. This work applying Earth-abundant minerals to organic chemistry, or geomimicry, provides new approaches to heterogeneous catalysis and organic transformations that may have applications for green-chemistry and biofuels production.

This seminar is presented by the ASU Center for Bioenergy and Photosynthesis.

>>Download flier