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Problem Addressed

The ability to control the rate of chemical reactions is a critical aspect of reaction engineering. Since many important reactions used in chemical synthesis involve heterogeneous catalysis, a popular strategy to controlling their kinetics is to manipulate the efficacy of the catalysts. Conventionally, this is achieved by changing either the concentration or accessibility of catalytic species by inducing morphological changes to the catalyst carrier using chemical or thermal stimuli. These methods have two limitations. First, the inherent tendency of chemical and thermal inputs to propagate through diffusion prevents fine-grained spatial control of catalytic activity. Secondly, morphological changes to catalyst carriers often entail volumetric and phase (sol-gel) transitions that make existing responsive catalysis strategies challenging to implement in fixed-bed flow reactors. The novel class of responsive heterogeneous catalysts described in this invention addresses these problems by responding to highly localizable electrochemical stimuli and relying on redox transitions instead of morphological changes to control catalytic activity.