Jason Weaver, was spotlighted in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) on Feb. 28, 2018, for his work on ethane dehydrogenation and selective ethylene production on IrO2(110).
Weaver’s research ﬁnds that ethane binds strongly to IrO2(110) via formation of a σ-complex and then dissociates readily below 200 K, in contrast to alkane C−H bond cleavage on other metal oxides, which requires temperatures >700 K. Notably, selectivity for ethylene over more oxidized COx species is enhanced when IrO2(110) is partially hydrogenated prior to catalysis. Density functional theory calculations shed light on this result, predicting that hydrogenation renders reactive bridging O atoms far less likely to accept additional H atoms and promote cascade oxidation. The molecular-level insights from this study may be broadly applicable toward the design of improved IrO2-based catalysts for ethane-to-ethylene conversion. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 2704−2704