Resnick Institute


Hypothesis-Driven Design of Corrole Metal Complexes as Catalysts for Energy Relevant Processes

We have recently introduced corrole metal complexes (metallocorroles) as catalysts for various energy-relevant reactions. This includes those that are of prime importance for the electrochemical splitting of water into its elements, as well as the hydrogen and oxygen evolution reactions. Tuning of the redox potentials, M(I)/M(II) for proton reduction, M(II)/M(III) for oxygen reduction, and M(III)/M(IV)/M(V) for water oxidation (M= Fe, Co, or Mn), is achieved via variations of substituents on the corrole ligand.

Practical catalysis is achieved via immobilization onto carbon electrodes, while mechanism-of-action insight is obtained by performing homogenous catalysis and characterization of reaction intermediates. The thus achieved conclusions are used for hypothesis-driven changes in the catalyst’s structures as to achieve the desired properties required for optimal catalytic efficacy and selectivity. This will be demonstrated by the introduction of newly developed catalysts with trifluoromethyl substituents.

About Zeev

Zeev Gross received his PhD in chemistry from Bar-Ilan University in 1988, in the field of physical organic chemistry. He then moved to Princeton University for two years as a Fulbright postdoctoral fellow, during which he explored several aspects of metalloporphyrin chemistry with Professor J. T. Groves as mentor.

In 1990 he accepted a position at the Technion, where he is currently Professor of Chemistry and the incumbent of the Blum academic chair. On top of that, he is heading multiple outreach activities for encouraging high school students to enroll chemistry in their future and serves as the dean of the division of continuing and external studies.

Since 1999, when his group discovered the first facile synthesis of corroles from pyrrole and aldehydes, the focus of his research has been uncovering unique features of metallocorroles and their utilization in applications that are of prime importance for modern society: discovering new drugs and designing better performing catalysts for energy-relevant processes.

He was a Moore Distinguished Scholar at Caltech in 2013, received the Israel Chemical Society Award for the Outstanding Scientist in 2014, and was selected to get the Hans Fischer carrier award in 2018.