Noncontact catalysis: Initiation of selective ethylbenzene oxidation by Au cluster-facilitated cyclooctene epoxidation

Anyang Peng, Mayfair C. Kung, Robert R.O. Brydon, Matthew O. Ross, Linping Qian, Linda J. Broadbelt, Harold H. Kung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Traditionally, a catalyst functions by direct interaction with reactants. In a new noncontact catalytic system (NCCS), an intermediate produced by one catalytic reaction serves as an intermediary to enable an independent reaction to proceed. An example is the selective oxidation of ethylbenzene, which could not occur in the presence of either solubilized Au nanoclusters or cyclooctene, but proceeded readily when both were present simultaneously. The Au-initiated selective epoxidation of cyclooctene generated cyclooctenyl peroxy and oxy radicals that served as intermediaries to initiate the ethylbenzene oxidation. This combined system effectively extended the catalytic effect of Au. The reaction mechanism was supported by reaction kinetics and spin trap experiments. NCCS enables parallel reactions to proceed without the constraints of stoichiometric relationships, offering new degrees of freedom in industrial hydrocarbon co-oxidation processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaax6637
JournalScience Advances
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 31 2020


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this