Nicholas A. Brunelli Catalytic Material Design Group
Synthesis, characterization, and testing of heterogeneous catalytic materials
Catalytic Material Design Group
Our research focuses on achieving atomic level control of the catalytic active sites in heterogeneous materials using advanced synthetic methods to create novel designs and materials and understand how these novel materials assemble. These materials are interrogated through spectroscopic techniques that enable improved design.
PhD 2010, California Institute of Technology, NSF Graduate Research Fellow
2013, Emory University, Postdoctoral Fellow
2010-13, Georgia Institute of Technology, Postdoctoral Fellow
BS 2004, The Ohio State University, National Merit Scholar
Named the H.C. “Slip” Slider Professor in the fall of 2018, Brunelli is currently one of only seven endowed professors in the College of Engineering.
Professor Brunelli's group advances our understanding of catalytic materials at the atomic level to convert abundant petroleum and biomass resources with high selectivity to valuable chemical and fuels.
His research focuses on achieving atomic level control of the catalytic active sites in heterogeneous materials by creating novel designs and using advanced synthetic methods. These materials are interrogated through spectroscopic techniques that enable improved design
His work has led to the scalable production of nanomaterials and an advanced understanding of molecular interactions that impact immobilized catalysts.
ACS Energy & Fuels
- 2021 Emerging Investigator
RSC Molecular Systems Design and Engineering:
- 2020 Influential Researcher Award
AIChE Futures as recognized by AIChE Journal
- 2019 AIChE Futures
Royal Society of Chemistry:
- Emerging Investigator, 2019
Organic Reaction Catalysis Society (ORCS):
- 2019 Robert Augustine Award
RSC Reaction Chemistry & Engineering:
- 2019 Emerging Investigator
American Chemical Society:
- 2018 Class of Influential Researchers
National Science Foundation:
- NSF CAREER Award, 2017
- NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, 2004-07
National Merit Scholar:
- H.C. "Slip" Slider Professorship
- Dow Outstanding Junior Award in Chemical Engineering, 2003
The Ohio State University:
- Inaugural Cohort for the Growing Research Opportunities Academy (GRO), The Ohio State University Office of Research, 2021
Ohio State University College of Engineering:
- Lumley Research Award, 2019
William G. Lowrie Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering:
- Named H.C. 'Slip' Slider Professor, 2018
- AIChE Donald F. Othmer Sophomore Award in Chemical Engineering, 2001
- Outstanding Senior Chemical Engineering Alumni Award, 2002
- 2020 Influential Researcher Award, Molecular Systems Design and Engineering
- 2019 AIChE Futures, AIChE Journal
- 2019 Emerging Investigator, RSC Reaction Chemistry & Engineering
- 2019 College of Engineering Lumley Research Award
- 2018 Class of Influential Researchers, American Chemical Society Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
- Appointed to the H.C. Slip Slider Professorship, Fall 2018
- NSF CAREER Award, 2017
- NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, 2004-2007
- Outstanding Senior Chemical Engineering Alumni Award, 2004
- Dow Outstanding Junior Award in Chemical Engineering, 2002
- AIChE Donald F. Othmer Sophomore Award in Chemical Engineering, 2001
- National Merit Finalist, 2000
Currently investigating structure-function relationships to elucidate mechanistic insights into catalytic reactions. This is challenging since most heterogeneous catalysts contain a non-uniform distribution of catalytic sites. We use homogeneous synthesis techniques to create materials with more uniform catalytic sites. Through tuning these materials on the atomic level, we are able to produce more uniform catalytic sites. The uniformity of the catalytic sites enables more active and selective catalysts to be designed and realized. The work has the potential to transform the production of valuable chemicals derived from petroleum and biomass sources.
HETEROGENEOUS CATALYSTS FOR SELECTIVE BIOMASS CONVERSION
Innovation: Nicholas Brunelli created aminosilica materials capable of selective isomerization of glucose to fructose. This novel design of a bifunctional heterogeneous catalyst increases selective dehydration of fructose to HMF.
Impact: Combined catalysts would enable production of HMF, the most important target for biomass valorization.
In 2018 Brunelli he elucidated structure-function relationships for heteogeneous catalytic materials for glucose isomerizaton.
This discovery will enable the sustainable conversion of biomass into chemicals.
40. N.Deshpande, E.H.Cho, T.Kobayashi, M. Pruski, L.-C.Lin,* N.A.Brunelli,* “TuningMicropore Volume of SBA-15 to Enhance Catalytic Activity,”(submitted).
39. M. Gray, M. Hines, M. Parsutkar, A.J. Wahlstrom, N.A. Brunelli,* T.V. RajanBabu,* “On the Mechanism of Cobalt-Catalyzed Heterodimerization of Acrylates and 1,3-Dienes. Reaction Progress Kinetic Analysis and A Potential Role of Cationic Cobalt(I) Intermediates” ACS Catalysis, 2020, 10 (7), 4337-4348.
38. M.R. Whitaker, A. Parulkar, N.A. Brunelli,* “Selective production of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural from fructose in the presence of an acid-functionalized SBA-15 catalyst modified with a sulfoxide polymer,” Molecular Systems Design and Engineering, 2020, 5, 257-268.
37. A. Kane, N. Deshpande, N.A. Brunelli,* “Impact of surface loading on catalytic activity of regular and low Micropore SBA-15 in the Knoevenagel Condensation,” AIChE Journal, 2019, 65 (12), e16791.
36. P. Ranadive, A. Parulkar, N.A. Brunelli, "Jet-Mixing for the Production of Monodisperse Silver Nanoparticles Using Reduced Amounts of Capping Agent." Reaction Chemistry & Engineering (accepted) (2019 Reaction Chemistry & Engineering Emerging Investigators) (https://doi.org/10.1039/C9RE00152B)
35. M.R. Whitaker, A. Parulkar, P. Ranadive, R. Joshi, N.A. Brunelli,* “Examining Acid Formation During the Selective Dehydration of Fructose to 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural in DMSO and Water,” ChemSusChem, 2019 (accepted) (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cssc.201803013).
34. Parulkar, A., Spanos, A.P., Deshpande, N., Brunelli, N.A.,* "Synthesis and catalytic testing of Lewis acidic nano zeolite beta for epoxide ring opening with alcohols." Applied Catalysis A: General. 2019, 577, 28-34. (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apcata.2019.03.009)
33. Deshpande, N., Cho, E.H., Spanos, A.P., Lin, L.-C., Brunelli, N.A.,* "Tuning molecular structure of tertiary amine catalysts for glucose isomerization," Journal of Catalysis, 2019, 372, 119-127. (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcat.2019.02.025)
32. Olson, N., Deshpande, N., Gunduz, S., Ozkan, U.S., Brunelli, N.A.,* “Utilizing Imogolite Nanotubes as a Tunable Catalytic Material for the Selective Isomerization of Glucose to Fructose,” Catalysis Today, 323, 69-75. (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cattod.2018.07.059)
31. Deshpande, N., Parulkar, A., Joshi, R., Diep, B., Kulkarni, A., Brunelli, N.A.*, "Epoxide ring opening with alcohols using heterogeneous Lewis acid catalysts: Mechanism and regioselectivity" Journal of Catalysis, 370, 46-54. (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcat.2018.11.038)
30. Parulkar, A., Joshi, R., Deshpande, N., Diep, B., Brunelli, N.A.*, "Synthesis and catalytic testing of Lewis acidic nano-MFI zeolites for the epoxide ring opening reaction with alcohol" Applied Catalysis A: General, 2018, 566, 25-32. (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apcata.2018.08.018)
29. Parulkar, A., Thompson, J.A., Hurt, M., Zhan, B.-Z., Brunelli, N.A. “Improving hydrodenitrogenation catalyst performance through analyzing hydrotreated vacuum gas oil using ion mobility-mass spectrometry” Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research (Accepted). (DOI: 10.1021/acs.iecr.8b01038)
28. Parulkar, A., Brunelli, N.A. “High Yield Synthesis of ZIF-8 Nanoparticles using Stoichiometric Reactants in a Jet-Mixing Reactor.” Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2017, 56 (37), 10384-10392. (DOI: 10.1021/acs.iecr.7b02849)
27. Deshpande, N., Pattanaik, L., Whitaker, M.W., Yang, C.-T., Lin, L.-C., Brunelli, N.A. “Selectively Converting Glucose to Fructose Using Immobilized Tertiary Amines.” Journal of Catalysis, 2017, 353, 205-210. (doi.org/10.1016/j.jcat.2017.07.021)
26. E.G. Moschetta, S. Negretti, K.M. Chepiga, N.A. Brunelli, Y. Labreche, Y. Feng, F. Rezaei, R.P. Lively, W.J. Koros, H.M.L. Davies,* and C.W. Jones.* "Composite Polymer/Oxide Hollow Fiber Contactors: Versatile and Scalable Flow Reactors for Heterogeneous Catalytic Reactions in Organic Synthesis." Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, 54 (22), 6470-6474.
25. L. Espinal, M.L. Green, D.A. Fischer, D.M. DeLongchamp, C. Jaye, J.C. Horn, M.A. Sakwa-Novak, W. Chaikittisilp, N.A. Brunelli, C.W. Jones. “Interrogating the Carbon and Oxygen K-edge NEXAFS of a CO2-dosed Hyperbranched Aminosilica.” J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2015, 6 (1), 148-152.
24. E.G. Moschetta, N.A. Brunelli, C.W. Jones, (2014) "Reaction-Dependent Heteroatom Modification of Acid-Base Catalytic Cooperativity in Aminosilica Materials," Appl. Catal. A 2015, 504 (5), 429-439.
23. B. R. Pimentel, A. Parulkar, E. Zhou, N. A. Brunelli*, R. P. Lively*, (2014), "Zeolitic Imidazolate Frameworks: Next-Generation Materials for Energy-Efficient Gas Separations." Chem. Sus. Chem. (DOI: 10.1002/cssc.201402647)
22. A.J. Brown, N.A. Brunelli, K Eum, F. Rashidi, J.R. Johnson, W.J. Koros, C.W. Jones, S. Nair, (2014), "Interfacial microfluidic processing of metal-organic framework hollow fiber membranes." Science 345, pp 72-75 (DOI: 10.1126/science.1251181)
21. D.-Y. Kang, N.A. Brunelli, G.I. Yucelen, A. Venkatasubramanian, J. Zang, J. Leisen, P.J. Hesketh, C.W. Jones, S. Nair, (2014), "Direct Synthesis of Single-walled Aminoaluminosilicate nantoubes with enhanced molecular adsorption selectivity." Nature Commun. 5, pp 1-9. (DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4342)
20. H.J. Kim, N.A. Brunelli, A.J. Brown, K.S Jang, W. Kim, F. Rashidi, J.R. Johnson, W.J. Koros, C.W. Jones, S. Nair, (2014) "Silylated Mesoporous Silica Membranes on Polymeric Hollow Fiber Supports: Synthesis and Permeation Properties," (in press).
19. S. A. Didas, R. Zhu, N. A. Brunelli, D. S. Sholl, C. W. Jones, (2014), "Thermal, Oxidative and CO2 Induced Degradation of Primary Amines Used for CO2 Capture: Effect of Alkyl Linker on Stability." J. Phys. Chem. C, 118, pp 12302-12311. (DOI: 10.1021/jp5025137 )
18. N.A. Brunelli, C.W. Jones, (2013), “Tuning Acid-Base Cooperativity to Create Next Generation Silica-Supported Organocatalysts.” J. Catal. 308, pp 60-72. (DOI: 10.1016/j.jcat.20213.05.022)
17. D.M. Holunga, N.A. Brunelli, R.C. Flagan, (2013) "A Tool for Uniform Coating of 300 mm Wafers with Nanoparticles." J. Nanoparticle Res. 15, pp 2027-1-10. (DOI: 10.107/s11051-013-2027-1)
16. N.A. Brunelli, E.L. Neiholdt, K.P. Giapis, R.C. Flagan, J.L. Beauchamp, (2013) “Continuous Flow Ion Mobility Separation with Mass Spectrometric Detection Using a Nano-Radial Differential Mobility Analyzer at Low Flow Rates.” Anal. Chem. 85 (9), pp 4335-4341.(DOI: 10.1021/ac3032417)
15. J.A. Thompson, N.A. Brunelli, R.P. Lively, J.R. Johnson, C.W. Jones, S. Nair, (2013) “Tunable CO2 Adsorbents by Mixed-Linker Synthesis and Postsynthetic Modification of Zeolitic Imidazolate Frameworks.” "J. Phys. Chem. C 117 (16), pp 8198-8207. (DOI: 10.1021/jp312590r)
14. K.M. Chepiga, Y. Fang, N.A. Brunelli, C.W. Jones, H.M.L. Davies, (2013) "Immobilized Chiral Dirhodium(II) Catalyst for Enantioselective Carbenoid Reactions." Org. Lett. 15, pp 6136-6139. (DOI: 10.1021/ol403006r).
13. W. Long, N.A. Brunelli, E.W. Ping, C.W. Jones, (2013) “A Single-Component Hybrid Pd Catalyst for the Highly-Selective Reduction of Alkynes to cis-Alkenes,” ACS Catal. 3 (8), pp 1700-1708. (DOI: 10.1021/cs3007395)
12. A. Varga, M. Pfohl, N.A. Brunelli, M. Schreier, K. Giapis, S. Haile, (2013) "Carbon nanotubes as electronic interconnects in solid acid fuel cell electrodes," Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 15, pp 15470-15476. (DOI:10.1039/C3CP52586D)
11. J.A. Thompson, J.T. Vaughn, N.A. Brunelli, W.J. Koros, C.W. Jones, S. Nair, (2013) "Mixed-linker zeolitic imidazolate framework mixed-matrix membranes for aggressive CO2 separation from natural gas," Microporous Mesoporous Mater. (in press).
10. N.A. Brunelli, S.A. Didas, K. Venkatasubbaiah, C.W. Jones, (2012) "Effect of Linker Length on the Cooperative Interactions of Supported Amines in Catalysis and CO2 Capture,"J. Am. Chem. Soc. 134 (34), pp 13950-13953. (DOI: 10.1021/ja305601g)
9. N.A. Brunelli, K. Venkatasubbaiah, C.W. Jones, (2012) “Cooperative Catalysis with Acid-Base Bifunctional Mesoporous Silica: Impact of Grafting and Co-condensation Synthesis Methods on Material Structure and Catalytic Properties.” Chem. Mater. 24 (13), pp 2433-2442. (DOI: 10.1021/cm300753z)
8. N.A. Brunelli, W. Long, K. Venkatasubbaiah, C.W. Jones, (2012) "Catalytic Regioselective Epoxide Ring Opening with Phenol using Homogeneous and Supported Analogues of Dimethylaminopyridine," Top. Catal. 55 (7-10), pp 432-438. (DOI: 10.1007/s11244-012-9822-2)
7. Y. Kuwahara, D.-Y. Kang, J. Copeland, N.A. Brunelli, S.A. Didas, P. Bollini, C. Sievers, T. Kamegawa, H. Yamashita, C.W. Jones, (2012) "Dramatic Enhancement of CO2 Uptake by Poly(ethyleneimine) Using Zirconosilica Supports," J. Am. Chem. Soc. 134 (26), pp 10757-10760. (DOI: 10.1021/ja303136e)
6. J.A. Thompson, C.R. Blad, N.A. Brunelli, M.E. Lydon, R.P. Lively, C.W. Jones, S. Nair, (2012), "Hybrid Zeolitic Imidazolate Frameworks: Controlling Framework Porosity and Functionality by Mixed-Linker Synthesis," Chem. Mater. 24 (10), pp 1930-1936. (DOI: 10.1021/cm3006953)
5. P. Bollini, N.A. Brunelli, S.A. Didas, C.W. Jones, "Dynamics of CO2 Adsorption onto Amine Adsorbents. 1. Assessment of Heat Effects," Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 51 (46), pp 15145-15152. (DOI: 10.1021/ie301790a)
4. P. Bollini, N.A. Brunelli, S.A. Didas, C.W. Jones, "Dynamics of CO2 Adsorption onto Amine Adsorbents. 2. Insights into Adsorbent Design," Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 51 (46), pp 15153-15162. (DOI: 10.1021/ie3017913)
3. J. Jiang, M. Attoui, M. Heim, N.A. Brunelli, P. McMurry, G. Kasper, R.C. Flagan, K. Giapis, G. Mouret, (2011). "Transfer Functions and Penetrations of Five Differential Mobility Analyzers for Sub-2 nm Particle Classification," Aerosol Sci. Technol. 45 (4), pp 480-492. (DOI: 10.1080/02786826.2010.546819)
2. A. Varga, N.A. Brunelli, M.W. Louie, K. Giapis, S.M. Haile, (2010) "Composite nanostructured solid-acid fuel-cell electrodes via electrospray deposition," J. Mater. Chem. 20, pp 6309-6315. (DOI: 10.1039/C0JM00216J)
1. N.A. Brunelli, R.C. Flagan, K. Giapis, "Radial Differential Mobility Analyzer for One Nanometer Particle Classification," Aerosol Sci. Technol. 43 (1), pp 53-59. (DOI: 10.1080/02786820802464302)
Lab News and Announcements
GRADUATE RESEARCH ASSISTANT POSITIONS
Students wanting to learn organic and inorganic synthetic techniques for creating catalytic materials. Highly motivated students will gain considerable skills in heterogeneous catalytic material synthesis, characterization, and catalytic testing with considerable opportunities to advance fundamental research in the field of catalysis. If you are interested, please contact Angela Bennett (firstname.lastname@example.org) for information about how to apply.
Highly motivated students wishing to complete an Honors thesis are invited to contact me directly to discuss research opportunities. Please send a copy of your CV.
Graduate Research Assistant
Jee Yee Chen
- Vasiliki "Aliki" Kolliopoulos ('18), 2020 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
- Michael Hines and Montgomery Gray, Denman Undergraduate Research Forum, First Place
- Pinaki Ranadive, Ohio State Materials Week, Finalist, Three-Minute Thesis
- Nitish Deshpande, AIChE Travel Award, Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division
- Nathaniel Olson, AIChE Poster Award, Third Place-Catalysis. Also received the NASA Space Tehcnology Research Fellowship to support his graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Chapaign.
- Vasiliki "Aliki" Kolliopoulos, AIChE Poster Award, First Place, Food, Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology division.
- Lagnajit Pattanaik, Goldwater Scholar. Also received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Honorable Mention.
- Lagnajit ("Lucky") Pattanaik and Kory Sherman won 2nd Place in the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum
Outreach and Activities
Our group works with several campus partners to share our research experiences and insights with future generations of scientists, researchers, engineers, and citizens. We seek to inspire students to pursue careers in STEM and STEM-related fields. At the same time, we seek to create greater scientific awareness.
Currently, we work with Scientific Thinkers to promote STEM education.
We had an invitation to learn about in situ spectroscopy methods from the experts at Purdue University. We were able to meet with many faculty (Fabio Ribiero, Raj Gounder, Jeff Miller, Jeff Greeley) and students (Atish, Ravi, and Phil). We were able to distill some important insights from our interactions. Here we are standing in front of a distillation column in the lobby of the Chemical Engineering building at Purdue.
(left to right) Nitish, Dr. Brunelli, Ravi (Purdue), Aamena, Phil (Purdue; former Ohio State undergrad), and Atish (Purdue) stand in front of an antique distillation column at Purdue University.