This three-year award for US-France collaboration in experimental physical chemistry involves researchers and students at the University of Utah and the Center for Atomic Energy (CEN) in Saclay, France. The principal investigators, William H. Breckenridge in the US, and Benoit Soep and Jean-Michel Mestdagh in France, lead this collaboration. They will study reactions of excited atoms and metal oxides produced at the surface in order to activate C-H (carbon-hydrogen) bonds. Activation of C-H bonds is important in a wide variety of technological processes such as hydrocarbon cracking, synthesis of chemicals from natural gas, hydrogenation, and organic synthesis. Many of these processes are either extremely complex chemically or occur under conditions which make it difficult to characterize and identify the processes responsible for bond breaking. The collaboration and comparison of experimental results will elucidate the bond-breaking process and understanding of how C-H activation occurs in these technological systems.
Experiments will be performed at the University of Utah and in Saclay, France. The French group will conduct photosensitized C-H bond activation "surface" model experiments. These are complemented by metal oxide/methane experiments at the University of Utah. The collaboration and comparison of experimental results will elucidate the bond-breaking process and advance understanding of how C-H activation occurs in these technological systems. Graduate students will benefit through advanced training and participation in the collaborative experiments performed by an international team.
This award represents the US side of parallel proposals to the NSF and the CNRS. NSF will cover travel funds and living expenses for the US investigator and his students. The CNRS will support visits by French researchers and students to the United States.