The importance of active site nature and proximity in heterogeneous catalysis


Traditionally, catalysis investigations were based on understanding nature of active sites in solid catalysts. Nature is defined as the adequacy of active sites to perform a type of catalytic reaction, for example, redox or acid catalysis. The concept of active site strength was also introduced to explain the ability of a stronger or weaker site to perform an specific catalytic reaction. Other crucial parameters on heterogeneous catalysis are diffusion and confinement of active sites in voids of molecular dimensions. However, all those descriptors are sometimes insufficient to explain the catalytic performance of solid catalysts. 

In this presentation, I will discuss the critical role of active site distance/proximity in catalytic reactions and how our group in leveraging active-site proximity to design better catalyst materials.



Javier Ruiz-Martínez hold a PhD cum laude from the University of Alicante. Then he moved to Utrecht University first as Postdoctoral fellow (2009 to 2012) and then as an Assistant Professor in In-Situ Spectroscopy (2013-2015). After this period, Javier moved from academia to industry and joined the Process Technology Department in AkzoNobel as Heterogeneous Catalysis Specialist. In 2019 he moved back to academia as a faculty member of the KAUST Catalysis Center. 

During his academic career, Javier more than 70 manuscripts in journals such as Nature Catalysis, Nature Chemistry, Nature Communications, Angewandte Chemie International Edition and Chemical Reviews. He is recipient of the prestigious VENI award (2012, Dutch Research Council) and Young scientist Price award (2012, International Association of Catalysis Societies). In KAUST, Javier’s group aims to unravel the complexity of heterogeneous catalysts by using spectroscopic tools and stablish relationships between material structure and catalytic performance. The final goal is to develop new catalytic materials with potential for industrial application.


Professor Javier Ruiz Martinez

Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST))

Event Quick Information

03 Mar, 2024
11:45 AM - 12:45 PM
KAUST, Bldg. 9, Level 2, Lecture Hall 1