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Nat Nanotechnol. 2015 Jul;10(7):577-88. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2015.140.

Catalysis by clusters with precise numbers of atoms.

Author information

1
Materials Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois 60439, USA.
2
1] Materials Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois 60439, USA [2] Nanoscience and Technology Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois 60439, USA [3] Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA [4] Institute for Molecular Engineering, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.

Abstract

Clusters that contain only a small number of atoms can exhibit unique and often unexpected properties. The clusters are of particular interest in catalysis because they can act as individual active sites, and minor changes in size and composition--such as the addition or removal of a single atom--can have a substantial influence on the activity and selectivity of a reaction. Here, we review recent progress in the synthesis and characterization of well-defined subnanometre clusters, and the understanding and exploitation of their catalytic properties. We examine work on size-selected supported clusters in ultrahigh-vacuum environments and under realistic reaction conditions, and explore the use of computational methods to provide a mechanistic understanding of their catalytic properties. We also highlight the potential of size-selected clusters to provide insights into important catalytic processes and their use in the development of novel catalytic systems.

PMID:
26139144
DOI:
10.1038/nnano.2015.140

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