Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Previously Published Works bannerUC Berkeley

Selective Nanocatalysis of Organic Transformation by Metals: Concepts, Model Systems, and Instruments


Monodispersed transition metal (Pt, Rh, Pd) nanoparticles (NP) in the 0.8–15 nm range have been synthesized and are being used to probe catalytic selectivity in multipath organic transformation reactions. For NP systems, the turnover rates and product distributions depend on their size, shape, oxidation states, and their composition in case of bimetallic NP systems. Dendrimer-supported platinum and rhodium NPs of less than 2 nm diameter usually have high oxidation states and can be utilized for catalytic cyclization and hydroformylation reactions which previously were produced only by homogeneous catalysis. Transition metal nanoparticles in metal core (Pt, Co)––inorganic shell (SiO2) structure exhibit exceptional thermal stability and are well-suited to perform catalytic reactions at high temperatures (>400 °C). Instruments developed in our laboratory permit the atomic and molecular level study of NPs under reaction conditions (SFG, ambient pressure XPS and high pressure STM). These studies indicate continuous restructuring of the metal substrate and the adsorbate molecules, changes of oxidation states with NP size and surface composition variations of bimetallic NPs with changes of reactant molecules. The facile rearrangement of NP catalysts required for catalytic turnover makes nanoparticle systems (heterogeneous, homogeneous and enzyme) excellent catalysts and provides opportunities to develop hybrid heterogeneous-homogeneous, heterogeneous-enzyme and homogeneous-enzyme catalyst systems.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View