Topsector Chemie funds two projects of HIMS researchers

12 April 2016

Researchers of the Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences at the University of Amsterdam have been awarded funding by 'TKI Chemie', which is part of the national chemistry platform 'Topsector Chemie'. Their projects are aimed at the development of new innovative techniques and processes in the fields of Analytical Chemistry and Heterogeneous Catalysis.

The funded projects aim at the development of new innovative techniques and processes in the fields of Conservation Science/Analytical Chemistry and Heterogeneous Catalysis/Sustainable Chemistry.

Analysis of light induced degradation processes

Prof Maarten van Bommel

Prof. Maarten van Bommel. Photo by Dirk Gillissen.

Maarten van Bommel, UvA Professor of Conservation science, leads the project Chemistry of Light Induced Degradation – a feasibility study (acronym: COLD). This will be conducted in close cooperation with researchers from the Centre for Analytical Sciences Amsterdam and laser physicists at the LaserLaB of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The COLD project aims at developing a fully integrated in-line system that will drastically improve and accelerate studies on the (light-induced) degradation of very complex samples. To reach this goal optical techniques (lasers and spectroscopy) will be combined with chromatographic and flow-switching technologies and with mass-spectrometric characterization.

Project background: The COLD project is an extended feasibility study into very innovative combination of analytical disciplines and techniques. It should lead to a new technology that enables more adequate analysis of very complex samples, not only from the field of conservation science but also, for instance, from (waste) water or food. The degradation of chlorophyll (which makes vegetables lose their colour) and vitamins (tocopherols, carotenoids) are possible food-science applications.

Fading of red pigments in Van Gogh's painting

Studying the chemistry of light induced degradation has great relevance in the field of conservation science. Here the fading of red pigments in the painting 'The Bedroom' by Vincent van Gogh (Arles, 1888) is shown. Today the colors in the painting (shown left) are more blueish than in the original (digital reconstruction, shown right). Image by courtesy of the Van Gogh Museum.

Catalysis for sustainable cyclohexylamine synthesis

Dr. Raveendran Shiju holding catalyst

Dr Raveendran Shiju.

Raveendran Shiju, associate professor of Heterogeneous Catalysis and Sustainable Chemistry, leads the research project into the Design of Heterogeneous Catalysts for Chemo-selective Synthesis of Cyclohexylamines (acronym: Catamine). The objective is to develop highly efficient heterogeneous (solid) catalysts that can provide cyclohexylamines from phenols/anilines with high yield at mild conditions. The project aims at designing catalysts that are active at low temperatures and thus will provide a better control on important synthesis aspects such as cis/trans ratio and chemoselectivity. This work is part of the Research Priority Area Sustainable Chemistry and will be performed in close cooperation with the company DSM.

Project background: Amines are an important class of compounds used as intermediates for pharmaceuticals, agricultural chemicals, rubber chemicals, water treatment chemicals, and solvents. Cyclohexylamines are a relevant part of the amine family and  are generally produced by two routes, the main one being hydrogenation of anilines using cobalt or nickel catalysts. These processes are of low yields, require high pressures and high temperatures and large amounts of non-reusable catalysts.. The Catamine project will provide a more effective and sustainable alternative.

Published by  HIMS