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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Washington
  • Alexandra Velian
  • (206) 616-5179
Award Date:01/15/2020
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 675,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 405,000
  • FY 2020=$405,000
Start Date:02/01/2020
End Date:01/31/2025
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.049
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:CAREER: Elucidating and Harnessing Metal-Support Interactions using Designer Nanoclusters as Functional Models
Federal Award ID Number:1944843
DUNS ID:605799469
Parent DUNS ID:042803536
Program:Chemical Synthesis
Program Officer:
  • John Gilje
  • (703) 292-8840

Awardee Location

Street:4333 Brooklyn Ave NE
Awardee Cong. District:07

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Washington
Street:Department of Chemistry
Cong. District:07

Abstract at Time of Award

Many industrial processes involve chemical reactions that take place on the surface of metallic solids. While solid materials are very effective in converting one chemical to another, they do not dissolve in liquids that commonly are necessary for many reactions and that can slow the reaction speeds. The synthesis of small molecules that mimic the behavior of solid surfaces in speeding up reactions while dissolving in solution could improve chemical manufacturing. In this project Professor Alexandra Velian, Chemistry Department, University of Washington, is supported by the Chemical Synthesis Program of the Chemistry Division to prepare small molecule species that address this challenge. Her synthetic targets are small clusters of atoms that contain an exposed metal site where chemical reactivity can occur. These materials can be dissolved in solution and thus, they may improve the selectivity, stability, and tunability of the reactions they promote. The research gives a fundamental understanding of how reactions at a single metal atom occur. This knowledge then may be used to determine the basic steps in important industrial-scale chemical conversions. The research is integrated with a broad-based outreach effort to engage, enable and retain first-generation, underrepresented or low-income students in the STEM pipeline, and empower them to attain their professional potential. To achieve these goals, Professor Velian provides one-on-one mentorship to students, enables hands on research via “Chemistry Frontiers” - a new course to inform and engage students in contemporary research early in their undergraduate careers, and connects faculty with research active students. The surface functionalization of Co6Se8 clusters is used to synthesize nanoclusters with surface-embedded, tunable single atom active sites. These systems serve as functional models for metal–support constructs. The parameters that govern how metal–support interaction and vicinal active site activity alter the reactivity profile of key intermediates in typical reaction cycles are evaluated. This leads to a synthetic paradigm to design and prepare modular single atom materials from surface-functionalized Co6Se8-based nanoclusters. Concurrent with these research efforts Dr. Velian and her team actively work to promote diversity, inclusion and equity in science through an initiative that integrates mentorship, engagement in research, and immersion into the research community, with a focus on disenfranchised students at the University of Washington and in the greater Seattle area. The team also engages and educates the broader scientific and non-scientific community about the significance of heterogeneous catalysis on industrial processes. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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