2016 Ignite Project: OxiFlowPas

Continuous flow oxidation processes via plasmon-assisted photocatalysis

Project overview

OxiFlowPas was awarded the BIST Ignite Grant in April, 2017. The news release can be found here.

OxiFlowPas aims at combining for the first time the latest advances of nano-plasmonics and flow catalysis to develop a novel cost/energy effective and environmentally friendly platform compatible with the synthesis of widely used chemicals. The field of catalysis has become crucial in the scale-up process of chemical reactions that produce the building blocks used in everyday life products. Unfortunately, many employed processes are critically energy demanding (and thus costly) and not environmentally friendly. This collaboration hopes to work towards changing this.

Multidisciplinarity within OxiFlowPas

OxiFlowPas is highly multidisciplinary since it combines the latest advances in the field of nanoplasmonics (sub-field of photonics) with state-of-the-art flow catalysis (chemistry). The ICFO team of Pr. Romain Quidant brings to the consortium the expertise in microfluidics, design and synthesis of gold nanoparticles as well as in their interaction with light. The ICIQ Pericàs group and the technological development unit ERTFLOW will provide their extended knowledge in flow catalysis, both at the fundamental and more technological levels.

Progress: updated abstract as of December 2017

Oxidation of benzene to phenol, achieved through the so-called cumene process, is a pivotal chemical reaction that requires harsh and energy demanding conditions (high temperature and pressure). In this work, we aimed at developing a novel photocatalyst, formed by plasmonic metal nanoparticles immobilized on silica beads, capable to dramatically relax the reaction conditions. So far, the photocatalytic activity of the proposed composite material has been successfully validated on a model reaction; the oxidation of 1-plenylethanol to acetophenone. In this collaborative multidisciplinary effort between ICIQ and ICFO we started exploring its use in phenol production.

Project members

Romain Quidant

ICREA Research Professor and Group Leader at ICFO

Miquel A. Pericàs

Group Leader and Director of ICIQ

Ignacio de Miguel

Post-doctoral fellow at ICFO

Ivan Bordacchini

PhD student at ICFO

Esther Alza

Associate Researcher at ICIQ

Alba Camarasa

Technician at ICIQ

Institutional Members of the Board of Trustees