Writing the Programs of Programmable Catalysis

Yorgos M. Psarellis, Michail E. Kavousanakis, Paul J. Dauenhauer, Ioannis G. Kevrekidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


It has long been known that non-steady state and periodic catalytic reactor operation in terms of temperature, pressure, and composition can lead to higher overall productivity and/or product selectivity than the best steady operation. Recently, the emergence of catalysts whose intrinsic properties can be made to oscillate with time, introduces advanced forcing capabilities that can be “programmed” into the catalysts to broaden the scope and applicability of periodic operation to surface chemistry. In this work, an algorithmic approach is implemented to significantly accelerate the discovery and optimization of periodic steady states of catalytic reactors. Decomposition of complex dynamics into fundamental mechanistic fast-slow steps is seen to improve conceptual understanding of the relationship between binding energy oscillation protocols and overall catalytic rates. Finding structured forcing protocols, optimally tailored to the multiple time scales of a given individual mechanism, requires an efficient search of high-dimensional parameter spaces. This is enabled here through active learning (Bayesian optimization, enhanced by our proposed Bayesian continuation). Implementation of these methods is shown to accelerate the evaluation of catalyst programs by up to several orders of magnitude. Faster screening of programmable catalysts to discover periodic steady states enables the optimization of catalytic operating protocols and thus opens the possibility for catalyst engineering based on optimal forcing programs to control rate and product selectivity, even for complex multistep catalytic mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7457-7471
Number of pages15
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Chemical Society.


  • catalysis
  • dynamics
  • heterogeneous catalysis
  • optimization
  • programmable


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