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Researchers shed new light on catalyzed reactions
Date:11/19/2008

emical steps."

Ironically, he said, the reaction the team set out to analyze -- the breakdown of TCE into nontoxic ethane and chloride salts -- happens "way too fast" to be observed by the method. So, the team slowed down the reaction by using a similar molecule called DCE or 1,1-dichloroethene. In fact, DCE is what TCE can become after the catalyst breaks off the first chlorine atom, so by studying the DCE reaction, they are getting a good look at much of what happens with the TCE breakdown.

Wong said the study is helping him better understand TCE catalysis, but he and Halas each think their new method will be especially useful in providing a new level of detail for how molecules are transformed in chemical reactions that take place on catalytic surfaces.

"There was a question of whether we could do Raman spectroscopy and catalysis at the same time," Wong said. "There's no other method that lets you 'see' these catalyzed reactions in water while the reaction is happening, and some of the most interesting of these -- like the reactions needed to upgrade glycerol and cellulose into chemicals and fuels -- occur in water."


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Contact: Jade Boyd
jadeboyd@rice.edu
713-348-6778
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

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