Date of Award

Spring 5-2-2023

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

James D. Hoefelmeyer

Second Advisor

Steven Wu

Third Advisor

Catalin Georgescu


Heterogeneous Catalysis, Ketone Formation, Hollow Nanoparticles, Cyclohexene, Catalyst Design

Subject Categories

Inorganic Chemistry | Materials Chemistry


Oxidized hydrocarbons (epoxides, alcohols, carboxylic acids, ketones, and aldehydes) have many uses including fuel production, pollution treatment, and chemical synthesis. These compounds can be formed by oxidizing alkenes and alkanes with the assistance of a catalyst. Heterogeneous catalysts have greater recyclability, but traditionally have lower activity and selectivity. Due to the increased relative surface area, nanomaterials can overcome some of the physical limitations. The Hoefelmeyer lab developed a new nanomaterial: hollow Mn3O4 nanoparticles. Sensitive synthetic conditions have been optimized. Due to the increased relative number of edge and corner atoms, the reactive properties of most small nanomaterials increase. Because of the catalytic nature of bulk manganese oxides, the catalytic properties of the new particles with unique morphology are being tested. The hollow structure may provide more active sites due to increased surface area with an internal cavity potentially available for catalytic sites. Preliminary investigation of oxidative catalysis with a select few alkenes: cyclohexene, trans-stilbene, and toluene shows some promise.



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