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Heterogeneous Catalysis Research Group

METU Central Laboratory Heterogeneous Catalysis Research Group is a part of the largest research groups in the university. Currently, the catalysis and catalytic materials research at METU is implemented by eight professors and more than forty graduate students.. The efforts to understand the relationship between the surface structure, reaction mechanism, and activity is the major goal in most of the research cases in catalyst studies. The synthesis of new catalytic materials with better selectivity and activity can be achieved by nano-scale materials and similarly the research on the catalysis field itself may lead to the synthesis of new nano scale materials with different functions. The synthesis of new catalytic materials with better activity and selectivity combined with their advanced electrical and optical properties may lead to new chemical processes. The integration of such functionalities of these materials in one system as thin films may lead to the production of smart systems and multifunctional materials such as smart multifunctional sensor arrays for polluting gases and the same surface may serve as the catalyst where these pollutants are reduced or oxidized to non polluting gases at low temperature.

One of the key projects that the group members and their collaborators are involved is the exploitation of the semiconductor structures for their photocatalytic activities. The photooxidation studies conducted so far is now being extended for artificial photosynthesis over well designed structures.

The heterogeneous catalysis group of METU-CL has been participating in the organization of the EMCC (Eastern Mediterranean Collaborative Research Conference) since 1998. The conference aims to bring together scientists in the Easten Mediterranean Area and USA to establish collaborative research links. Furthermore, the group members actively participate in industrial catalyst development projects and serve as consultants to major industries in Turkey.

Prof. Dr. Deniz Uner has PhD (1994, Iowa State University) in Chemical Engineering and her current research is focused on the fundamentals of supported metal catalysis with applications including emission control catalysis, catalyst development for on-board hydrogen generation for fuel cells, photocatalysis and artificial photosynthesis.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Gurkan Karakas has PhD (1995, METU) in Chemical Engineering and worked as Post Doctoral Researcher in Ohio State University, USA (1995-1998). His major research interest is the environmental catalysis, catalytic materials for Green Chemistry. Recent research topics also include the utilisation of metal doped semiconductor materials as catalytic surfaces and incorporating their chemical and electrical properties on the self cleaning surfaces and smart catalytic thin films.

List of recent relevant publications
1. N. Savargaonkar, D. Uner, M. Pruski and T. S. King, "Kinetics of hydrogen adsorption and desorption on silica supported Pt, Rh and Ru catalysts studied by solid state 1H NMR" Langmuir,18, 4005-4009, (2002).
2. B. Dernaika and D. Uner, "A simplified approach to determine the activation energies of uncatalyzed and catalyzed combustion of soot" Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 40(3), 219 - 229 (2003).
3. D. Uner, N. A. Tapan , I. Ozen, and M. Uner, Oxygen adsorption and spillover over Pt/TiO2 catalysts. Applied Catalysis A: General, 251 (2), 225-234 (2003).
4. Ayturk E, Hamamci H, Karakas G, "Production of Lactic Acid Esters Catalyzed by Heteropoly Acid Supported over Ion-Exchange Resins" Green Chemistry, 5 (4): 460-466 (2003).
5. Karakas G, Mitome-Watson J, Ozkan US,"In situ DRIFTS Characterization of Wet-Impregnated and Sol-Gel Pd/TiO2 for NO Reduction With CH4" ,Catalysis Communications, 3 (5): 199-206, (2002)
6. Bunch A, Zhang LP, Karakas G, et al,."Reaction network of indole hydrodenitrogenation over NiMoS/gamma-Al2O3 catalysts" Applied Catalysis A-General 190 (1-2): 51-60, (2000).