News, Press, Highlights

July 2021

Carsten and Marvin are in the University News with their new publication:



July 2021

Our paper “Understanding Ligand-Directed Heterogeneous Catalysis: When the Dynamically Changing Nature of the Ligand Layer Controls the Hydrogenation Selectivity” just appeared in Angewandte Chemie International Edition. The paper has been selected for a News article intended for the general media to share the research results, which are of great general interest, with the public. For more details, see the original manuscript and the press release.

Congratulations to Carsten Schröder and Marvin Schmidt!


In this contribution, we present a mechanistic study on formation and dynamic changes of a ligand-based heterogeneous Pd catalyst for chemoselective hydrogenation of a,b-unsaturated aldehyde acrolein. Deposition of allyl cyanide as a precursor of a ligand layer renders Pd highly active and nearly 100 % selective toward propenol formation by promoting acrolein adsorption in a desired configuration via the C=O end. Employing a combination of real space microscopic and in operando spectroscopic surface sensitive techniques, we show that an ordered active ligand layer is formed under operational conditions, consisting of stable butylimin species. In a competing process, unstable amine species evolve on the surface, which desorb in the course of the reaction. Obtained atomistic-level insights into the formation and dynamic evolution of the active ligand layer under operational conditions provide important input required for controlling chemoselectivity by purposeful surface functionalization.