The Methane Challenge: Selective C-H Bond Activation and C-C Coupling by Metal Oxides and Metal Carbides

The development of selective transformations of methane into more valuable feedstock under environmentally benign and economically feasible conditions is a timely and challenging topic of research, stimulated by the extreme inertness of this simplest hydrocarbon and the interest in the use of natural gas resources for solving global energy problems.
Mechanistic details of the activation of methane are obtained in unperturbed environments, by studies in the gas phase under near single-collision conditions coupled with state-of-the-art computations. The approach used is ideal for probing the energetics and kinetics of the elementary steps of catalytic processes at a strictly molecular level, ultimately achieving single-atom catalysis.
Examples of recent advances in the functionalization of methane at room temperature will be given.

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