The catalyst has the capability of selective oxidation of organic compounds and can be used in petroleum and gas industries and in pharmaceutics.
Oxidation of organic compounds is a very important process in various industries. Many catalysts have so far been introduced for this reaction. Unfortunately, many common methods require the use of toxic and expensive catalysts, which cause problems in the separation of products as well as the degradation and lack of recyclability of the catalyst. Therefore, the use of those catalysts is not economic and harms the environment because it produces huge mass of waste materials.
Nanocatalysts stabilized on porous beds have attracted the attention of many researchers in the recent years. Therefore, the researchers produced a new catalyst by using the recyclable iron oxide nanoparticles.
According to Dr. Fatemeh Rajabi, a member of the Scientific Board of Qazvin Center of Payam-e Noor University, the simple and recyclable method, very small amount of the required catalyst in the reaction, and very mild and simple reaction conditions double the importance of the obtained results from the economical and environmental points of view.
The nanocatalyst has been made by stabilizing iron oxide nanoparticles on the surface of SBA-15 nanoporous silica, and is able to selectively oxidize sulfide to sulfoxide. Sulfone bi-product is not created when the catalyst is used. The interesting point in this research is the use of water as a cheap, non-toxic and environmentally friendly solvent. This project is considered the first selective oxidation of sulfide to sulfoxide by using a non-homogenous system based on iron in aqueous environment.