Welcome to the Notestein Research Group (NRG) website!
We develop novel routes to the design and synthesis of heterogeneous catalysts, adsorbents, and other functional materials. We combine techniques for organic, inorganic, organometallic, materials, and polymer synthesis to make solid materials with unusual or unprecedented surface structures or to make known materials more precisely so that they may be better understood. One thing we are always on the lookout for are routes to mimic the structure or function of natural enzymes in solid materials that can be used in large-scale processing.

These atom-precise solid materials (catalysts, adsorbents and other functional materials) are used in the service of understanding and controlling some of the greatest challenges in chemical transformations today. At the end of the day, we want to be able to connect synthesis to structure to function, and we feel that the first connection has long been a limitation in the true design (as opposed to discovery) of new solid catalysts and adsorbents. We are active in all aspects of new materials design and testing including synthesis, advanced spectroscopy in the lab and at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, catalyst and adsorbent testing, and mechanism evaluation. 

The Research page of this site describes the materials we have developed for work in the broad area of sustainable chemistry, including current projects on:
  • Highly selective and atom-efficient catalytic oxidations with hydrogen peroxide or oxygen.
  • Catalysis with earth abundant metals.
  • New catalysts for selective deoxygenation and denitrogenation reactions for conversion of biomass or heavy crudes into more useful fuels or chemicals.
  • Selective separation of alcohol biofuels from water.
  • Carbon dioxide capture and photocatalytic conversion into fuels.
The Notestein Research Group at Northwestern in 2016.