New publication about microgels in Chemical Communications online


Microgels are porous and flexible macromolecular networks, which are able to react to external stimuli like temperature, ionic strength or pH by their swelling behavior. Thus, it is not possible to classify microgels as one of the common colloidal groups (flexible macromolecules, surfactants or rigid colloids). Instead, they unite the characteristics of all those groups. Therefore, microgel networks are promising and adaptable systems for various applications, for example biosensors or tissue engineering.

In this publication the application of microgels in catalysis is shown by incorporating copper bis(pyrazolyl)methane complexes on specified positions within the microgels, generating functionalized nanoreactors. Similar to enzymes, these nanoreactors provide a tailor-made environment for the catalytically active centers increasing the stability of the copper complexes and hence their activity in catalysis. The microgels were analyzed by means of dynamic light scattering (DLS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). To determine the enhancement in catalytic activity the functionalized microgels were used as catalysts in the oxidation of various benzyl alcohols to the corresponding aldehydes as a test reaction and were compared to the molecular copper bis(pyrazolyl)methane complex and the copper salt.

The article Enhanced catalytic activity of copper complexes in microgels for aerobic oxidation of benzyl alcohols is available on the webpage of the publisher.