Bio-inspired Macromolecules Containing Atomically Precise Catalytic Active Sites

Period of Performance: 06/13/2016 - 03/12/2017


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Mainstream Engineering Corporation
200 Yellow Place Array
Rockledge, FL 32955
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Temple University
Dept. of Computer & Informatio 1805 N. Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Institution POC


High selectivity in chemical reactions is the key to reducing costs, energy consumption and emissions in chemical processing. More selective and active catalysts will reduce the need for recovering unreacted chemicals for recycle and removing byproducts. Reducing the burden on separation processes will greatly reduce the energy required for chemical production. We propose to design macromolecular catalysts that resemble clamshells to act as highly selective C-H activation catalysts. These macro molecules will create complex, chiral pockets to bind metal ions, react with oxidants or molecular oxygen and react selectively with C-H bonds in a variety of hydrocarbon compounds. Prof. Schafmeister and his group at Temple University have already developed large, robust, abiotic macromolecules that resemble clamshells with programmable three-dimensional shapes. Mainstream Engineering will evaluate the catalytic activity of these materials when exposed to a panel of substrates to confirm the production of desired products as well as observe off-target catalytic activity that could lead to new applications of these molecules. Mainstream will also conduct a detailed commercialization analysis of all potential chemical pathways to ensure that the most lucrative products and catalysts are pursued in Phase II. The commercial applications of these catalysts are immense and include pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and personal care products. The public will benefit from lower cost goods as a result of more efficiently manufacturing processes. The public will also benefit from the reduced emissions of processes made more efficient by these catalysts. Key Words – Catalyst, biomimetic, selectivity, asymmetric Summary for Members of Congress: New catalysts are needed to improve selectivity and yield during chemical processing. We are developing new materials capable of performing much more selective chemistry than previously possible with conventional catalysts.