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A series of robust metallo-aerogels are readily fabricated by pyrolysis of xerogels derived from chitosan-metal (M = Fe, Co, Ni) hydrogels. Owing to the strong coordination between metal ions and the functional groups (NH2 and OH) of chitosan, metallo-aerogels consisting of encapsulated metal-nanoparticles (MNPs) by graphite shells were obtained, as supported by various characterizations including high-resolution transmission electron microscope (HR-TEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and Raman. The resulting metallo-aerogels could be functioned as highly stable, efficient and selective nanocatalysts towards the hydrogenation of nitroarenes to amines at low catalyst loading (1.2 mol.%-2.4 mol.%). Remarkably, the metallo-aerogels could be reused for more than 30 runs without obvious loss of activity and selectivity. These distinguished performances were attributed to the graphitic shells formed during the pyrolysis, which hampered the possible aggregation of MNPs, prevented metal leaching and increased their stability.

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Publication history

Received: 25 March 2020
Revised: 05 August 2020
Accepted: 05 August 2020
Published: 05 January 2021
Issue date: January 2021

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© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature

Acknowledgements

Financial support from the National Key R&D Program of China (No. 2016YFA0202902), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 21861132002, 21871059, and 21572036), and the Department of Chemistry, Fudan University is gratefully acknowledged.

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Email: nanores@tup.tsinghua.edu.cn

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