미래를 창조하는 포스텍 화학공학과
Heterogeneous enantioselective catalysis is considered a promising strategy for the large-scale production of enantiopure chemicals. In this work, polymer-capped Pt nanocatalysts having a uniform size were synthesized using poly(vinyl pyrrolidone) (PVP) and poly(vinyl alcohol) and supported on γ-Al2O3. After a facile heat treatment process, their catalytic performance for enantioselective hydrogenation of α-keto esters, a structure-sensitive reaction, was investigated. The presence of residual capping agents on the Pt surface often perturbs the adsorption of reacting species and reduces performance in structure-sensitive reactions. However, the 1 wt % PVP-Pt/Al2O3 catalyst exhibited an enhancement in both activity and enantioselectivity compared to a reference Pt/Al2O3 catalyst prepared by wet impregnation. Under optimized reaction conditions, the cinchonidine-modified PVP-Pt/Al2O3 gave an enantiomeric excess of 95% for the enantioselective hydrogenation of methyl pyruvate despite the low Pt loading. We demonstrate that depending on the type of polymers, the residual capping agents can lead to site-selective blockage of the Pt surface, that is, defects or terraces. Quantitative and qualitative analyses also show that the noticeable improvement in enantioselectivity is attributed to the stable adsorption of chiral modifiers on selectively exposed Pt terrace sites. The findings of this work provide a promising strategy to prepare metal nanoparticles having selectively exposed sites and offer insights into the enhancing effect of residual capping agents on the catalytic properties in structure-sensitive reactions.