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The National Science Foundation has provided two Indiana University scientists with $525,000 to promote research within the field of carbon recycling.

The two Indiana University chemists are Steven L. Tait, associate professor in the Indiana University Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences, and Kenneth Caulton, a Indiana University distinguished professor of chemistry and expert in metal-organic chemistry, will use their expert knowledge in surface chemistry and metal-organic chemistry. This method isolates organic materials and arranges single metal atoms into dominate, compounded compositions, comparable to enzymes. Together these two chemists aspire produce new pathways to molecular transformations.  For example, transforming carbon dioxide which may have harmful environmental effects into carbon impartial fuel, building materials, and plastics.

The collaboration between Tait and Caulton’s laboratories began almost two years ago and were not guaranteed support from the National Science Fund unless their early experiments proved success. Fortunately, the teams have been able to engineer an advanced category surface from distinctly coordinated metal atoms that chemically reacted with Carbon Dioxide gas.

Principal investigator Tait has stated, “the conversion of molecules into new forms, including ‘recycling’ carbon, is a broad challenge in chemistry. Our work will advance the field by applying methods pioneered at IU toward the development of reactions not yet attainable outside highly controlled laboratory environments.”

Carbon Dioxide, also commonly referred to as CO2, is the by-product of tumult coal or gasoline. The potential to manipulate a surface behavior of this essence from CO2 is nothing short of a quantum due to the bond connecting a single carbon atom and two oxygen atoms being exceptionally grueling to damage or transform.

Procedures formed under the grant could lead to advancements beyond Carbon recycling and have a significant impact across the country but especially in states like Indiana, where fossil fuels and manufacturing can increase both energy and economic productivity.