Prof. Basset, who has authored more than 500 scientific papers and
reports, works to evidence the possible relationships between
homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis. For that purpose, he developed "Surface Organometallic Chemistry", a new field of chemistry that tries to answer various questions:
Are the concepts of the reactivity of molecular chemistry applicable when an organometallic molecule reacts with a surface?
Can the structures of molecular surface species be rationalized on the same basis as those of molecular species in solution?
Does the reactivity of surface organometallic fragments allow understanding the elementary steps of heterogeneous catalysis?
Can we make single site catalysts on a surface?
Can we render heterogeneous catalysis a predictable science?
Can we anticipate the discovery of new catalytic reactions?
This chemistry resulted in the discovery of a number of new catalytic
reactions, such as the metathesis of alkanes which transforms any
paraffin into its lower and higher homologues, the cleavage of paraffins
by methane, the coupling of methane into ethane and hydrogen, the
Ziegler-Natta depolymerisation which transforms polyethylene into diesel
range gasoline, the transformation of ethylene to propylene, and the
removal of traces of arsenic from water.