Catalysis and Energy

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Catalysis and energy play a key role in a sustainable future, and the following programs are active at Oak Crest:


  • Novel catalytic strategies for carbon dioxide activation and fixation into high value materials, such as polymers and organic building blocks for pharmaceutical synthesis. Current approaches include low-valent, homogeneous nickel systems and semiconductor photocatalysis, the latter in collaboration with Prof. Michael Hoffmann (Caltech).
  • In situ investigation of catalytic processes that occur during the delubrication of powder metal compacts. These efforts have been ongoing for over ten years in collaboration with Prof. Diran Apelian (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) and are designed to reduce energy consumption and minimize the emission of pollutants in powder metallurgical processing.


  • New spectroscopic sensors are being developed as part of a collaborative project with Prof. Crist Khachikian (Cal State Northridge) aimed at developing the next generation of high efficiency, low-emission combustion systems for both bio-fuels and traditional fossil fuels.
  • Highly absorbing organic dyes for solar energy conversion. Environmental bacterial isolates in our culture library produce a number of secondary metabolites with chromophoric properties that interact well with the solar emission spectrum. These are being studied using a number of photophysical techniques.