New catalyst in a class of its own

Scientists have developed an innovative technique for making better performing catalysts, paving the way for their use in energy technologies


A new class of materials that outperform conventional catalysts can now be made in a simple, one-pot process.

Metal single-atom catalysts (SACs) exhibit superior performance in several key catalytic reactions, including the oxygen reduction, carbon monoxide oxidation and hydrogen evolution reactions.

Now, an international team of scientists, including researchers from Curtin University in Australia, has developed a new method for synthesising SACs that consist of metal atoms dispersed on carbon nanotube supports. This synthesis technique greatly increases the activity and selectivity of these SACs.

By using a one-pot pyrolysis method, in which successive chemical reactions occur in just one reactor, the team created single atoms of nickel, cobalt and iron, supported on nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes.

The work has led to a new type of SAC with a single-atom metal content as high as 20 per cent by weight, opening the door for their use in energy-conversion and -storage technologies.

This article was first published by Springer Nature. Read the original article here.