Catalysis and Surface Processes

Rodolfo Zanella-Specia

Rodolfo Zanella is a chemical engineer (1998) by UNAM. He earned a master’s degree in chemical engineering (2000) from UNAM and a Ph. D. degree in process engineering and catalysis from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris VI, France in 2003. After a post-doctoral fellowship at the Center for Applied Sciences and Technological Development (CCADET), in 2004, he was hired first as research assistant (2006) and then as senior researcher (2009); he served as Academic Deputy and then became the Director of CCADET and then of the Institute for Applied Sciences and Technology-UNAM. He also was the director of the Representative Office of UNAM in France. He is a member of the National Research System of Mexico (level III). His scientific interests lie in the deposition of monometallic and bimetallic nanoparticles on reducible and non-reducible powder oxides; the synthesis of pure and doped metal oxides; the catalysis focused on exhaust gas reactions (CO oxidation, NO reduction, total oxidation), the production and purification of H2 (water-gas shift reaction), preferential CO oxidation; the photocatalytic degradation of organic compounds and the photocatalytic production of hydrogen by water splitting. He has published about 162 research papers that have been cited about 7400 times (H index 42), 7 book chapters and has been in charge of 22 founded projects. He has supervised 33 BSc students, 18 MSc students, 5 doctorate students and 15 postdoctoral fellows. He has been recognized twice by Elsevier for being the first author of one of the most cited articles in Chemical Engineering Journals and by UNAM with the National University Award of Distinction for Young Scientists, UNAM, and for being one of the most cited researchers (at UNAM) in the field of chemistry.

  • Deposition of monometallic and bimetallic nanoparticles of Au, Ag, Cu, Ni, Ru, Rh, Co, Ir and Fe supported on reducible and non-reducible powder oxides (e.g. TiO2, CeO2, Al2O3, SiO2, ZrO2, MgO, ZnO, CuO) and zeolites by liquid phase methods (deposition precipitation, ion adsorption, impregnation and colloidal routs).
  • Synthesis of metal oxides, pure and doped.
  • Catalysis focused on exhaust gas reactions (CO oxidation, NO reduction, total oxidation).
  • Catalysis focused on the production and purification of H2 (Water Gas Shift reaction (WGS) and preferential CO oxidation (PROX)).
  • Photocatalytic degradation of organic compounds.
  • Photocatalytic production of hydrogen.
  • Artificial photosynthesis
  • PAPIIT-DGAPA-UNAM. “Potential for environmental dissemination of SARS-COV-2; A risk approach based on the soil and the urban water cycle in Central Mexico”.
  • CONACYT. “Understanding the supported bimetallic catalysts under dynamic reaction conditions”
  • PAPIIT-DGAPA-UNAM. “Elucidation of active sites in supported bimetallic catalysts for gas phase oxidation reactions”.

R. Camposeco, D. Gómora-Herrera, R. Zanella, Insights into the performance of bimetallic Ru-Co/TiO2 catalysts carrying out a low temperature C3H8 oxidation reaction, Catalysis Letters (2024), in press

J. C. Durán-Álvarez, S. Cortés-Lagunes, O. Mahjoub, A. Serrano-Lázaro, A. Garduño-Jiménez, R. Zanella, Tapping the Tunisian sunlight’s potential to remove pharmaceuticals in tap water and secondary effluents: A comparison of Ag2O/TiO2 and BiOI photocatalysts and toxicological insights, Separation and Purification Technology 335 (2024), 126221,

R. Camposeco, S. Castillo, R. Zanella, Catalytic oxidation of propane and carbon monoxide by Pd nanoparticles on Mn/TiO2 catalysts, Catalysis Letters 154 (2024) 155–169,

R. Camposeco, R. Zanella, Outstanding synergistic effect of Au-Ir/Al2O3 catalysts on the total oxidation of propane, Materials Today Chemistry 33 (2023), 101718

R. Camposeco, O. Miguel, A. E. Torres, D. E. Armas, R. Zanella, Highly active Ru/TiO2 nanostructures for total catalytic oxidation of propane, Environmental Science and Pollution Research 30 (2023) 98076–98090,

J C. Durán-Álvarez, B. Prado, R. Zanella, M. Rodríguez, S. Díaz, Wastewater surveillance of pharmaceuticals during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico City and the Mezquital Valley: A comprehensive environmental risk assessment, Science of the Total Environment 100 (2023) 165886

R. Camposeco, V. Maturano-Rojas, R. Zanella, Highly efficient Au/ZnO-ZrO2 catalysts for CO oxidation at low temperature, Catalysis 13 (2023) 590,

D. Ramírez-Ortega, D. Guerrero-Araque, J. H. Sierra-Uribe, R. Camposeco, R. Gómez, R. Zanella, Accelerated transfer and separation of charge carriers during the photocatalytic production of hydrogen over Au/ZrO2-TiO2 structures by interfacial energy states, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 48 (2023) 15956-15966,

F. Anaya-Rodríguez, J. C. Duran-Álvarez, K. T. Drisya, R. Zanella, The challenges of integrating the principles of green chemistry and green engineering to heterogeneous photocatalysis to treat water and produce green H2 Catalysis 13 (2023) 154,

J.F. Ramírez-Lomán, A. Cruz-López, R. Zanella, C.D. Gómez-Ibarra, S. Gil, S.I. Suárez-Vázquez, Effect of the surface composition of MnOX-CeOX 3D-printed monolithic catalysts toward total oxidation of toluene, Molecular Catalysis 549 (2023) 113449,

  • Mundo Nano. Revista Interdisciplinaria en Nanociencias y Nanotecnología

    Editor en Jefe

  • R. Zanella, V. Rodríguez-González, Y. Arzola, A. Moreno-Rodríguez, Au/Y-TiO2 Catalyst: High Activity and Long-Term Stability in CO Oxidation, ACS Catalysis 2 (2012), 1-11,

  • A. Sandoval, A. Aguilar, C. Louis, A. Traverse, R. Zanella, Bimetallic Au-Ag/TiO2 Catalyst Prepared by Deposition-Precipitation. High Activity and Stability in CO Oxidation, Journal of Catalysis 281 (2011) 40-49,
  • R. Zanella, A. Sandoval, P. Santiago, V. A. Basiuk, J. M. SanigerNew Preparation Method of Gold Nanoparticles on SiO2, Journal of Physical Chemistry B., 110 (2006) 8559-8565,
  • R. Zanella, E. V. Basiuk, P. Santiago, V. A. Basiuk, E. Mireles, I. Puente-Lee, J. M. Saniger, Deposition of gold nanoparticles onto thiol-functionalized-multi-walled carbon nanotubes, Journal of Physical Chemistry B. 109, (2005) 16290-16295,
  • R. Zanella, C. Louis, Influence of the condition of thermal treatments and of storage on the size of the gold particles in Au/TiO2 samples, Catalysis Today, 107-108, (2005) 768-777,
  • R. Zanella, L. Delannoy, C. Louis, Mechanism of deposition of gold precursors onto TiO2 during preparation by cation adsorption and by deposition-precipitation with NaOH and urea, Applied Catalysis A. 291, (2005) 62-72,
  • R. Zanella, S. Giorgio, R. Touroude, C. Louis, Crotonaldehyde Hydrogenation by Supported Gold on TiO2: Structure Sensitivity and Mechanism, Journal Catalysis 223(2004) 328-339,
  • R. Zanella, S. Giorgio, Ch.-H Shin, C. R. Henry, C. Louis, Characterization and reactivity in CO oxidation of gold nanoparticles supported on TiO2 prepared by deposition-precipitation with NaOH and Urea, Journal of Catalysis, 222, (2004) 357-367,
  • R. Zanella, S. Giorgio, C. Henry, C. Louis, Alternative methods for the preparation of gold nanoparticles supported on TiO2 , Journal of Physical Chemistry B106(2002) 7634-7642,
  • J. C. Durán-Alvarez, Rodolfo Zanella, Socorro Oros-Ruiz, Superficial modification of semiconductors with gold nanoparticles for photocatalytic applications Libro: Heterogeneous Gold Catalysis and Catalysis, Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Catalysis Series No. 18, capítulo 7, 154-228, ISBN: 978-1-84973-917-7, 2014.
  • Patent: Aleación oro-plata, proceso para su preparación y su empleo como catalizador, Authors: R. Zanella, J. M. Saniger, J. G. Pérez, Title number: 329726, Country: México, valid until March 20th 2029
  • Chemical Reactors Professor

  • Heterogeneous Catalysis Professor



  • Alejandro Javier Mancilla-Rico
  • Miguel Alexis Hellmer-Suárez
  • Cristopher Ibañez Pinacho


  • Jose Nicolas Vite Ruiz


  • Diego Servín Cervantez
  • Dalia Lucía Pérez Cruz
  • Omar Arturo Mejía Díaz
  • Irma Ramírez Cruz

Postdoctoral fellows

  • Dr. Roberto Camposeco Solís
  • Dr. Diego Daniel González Araiza
  • Dr. Alejandro Gutierrez Sánchez