Research Article Issue
Atomically dispersed Ni anchored on polymer-derived mesh-like N-doped carbon nanofibers as an efficient CO2 electrocatalytic reduction catalyst
Nano Research 2022, 15 (5): 3959-3963
Published: 15 January 2022
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Efficient electroreduction of CO2 into CO and other chemicals turns greenhouse gases into fuels and value-added chemicals, holding great promise for a closed carbon cycle and the alleviation of climate changes. However, there are still challenges in the large-scale application of CO2 electroreduction due to the sluggish kinetics. Herein we develop a self-assembly strategy to synthesize a highly efficient CO2 reduction electrocatalyst with atomically dispersed Ni-N4 active centers anchored on polymer-derived mesh-like N-doped carbon nanofibers (Ni-N4/NC). The Ni-N4/NC exhibits high selectivity for CO2 reduction reaction with CO Faradaic efficiency (CO FE) above 90% over a wide potential range from −0.6 to −1.0 V vs. RHE. The catalyst reaches a maximum CO FE up to 98.4% at −0.8 V with a TOF of 1.28 x 105 h–1 and Tafel slope of 113 mV·dec–1. The catalyst also exhibits remarkable stability, with little change in current density and CO FE over a 10-hour durability test at –0.8 V vs. RHE. This method provides a new route for the synthesis of highly efficient CO2 reduction electrocatalyst.

Editorial Issue
On the occasion of the 80th birthday of Professor Yitai Qian: Celebrating 60 years of innovation in solid-state chemistry and nanoscience
Nano Research 2021, 14 (10): 3337-3342
Published: 25 September 2021
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Research Article Issue
RuO2 clusters derived from bulk SrRuO3: Robust catalyst for oxygen evolution reaction in acid
Nano Research 2022, 15 (3): 1959-1965
Published: 20 September 2021
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Developing highly efficient oxygen evolution reaction (OER) catalyst for the acidic corrosive operating conditions is a challenging task. Herein, we report the synthesis of uniform RuO2 clusters with ~ 2 nm in size via electrochemical leaching of Sr from SrRuO3 ceramic in acid. The RuO2 clusters exhibit ultrahigh OER activity with overpotential of ~ 160 mV at 10 mA·cmgeo−2 in 1.0 M HClO4 solution for 30-h testing. The extended X-ray absorption fine structure measurement reveals enlarged Jahn-Teller distortion of Ru-O octahedra in the RuO2 clusters compared to its bulk counterpart. Density function theory calculations show that the enhanced Jahn-Teller distortion can improve the intrinsic OER activity of RuO2.

Research Article Issue
Revealing the surface atomic arrangement of noble metal alkane dehydrogenation catalysts by a stepwise reduction-oxidation approach
Nano Research 2023, 16 (4): 4499-4505
Published: 02 July 2021
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Surface characterization of metal nanoparticles is a critical need in nanocatalysis for in-depth understanding of the structure–function relationships. The surface structure of nanoparticles is often different from the subsurface, and it is challenging to separately characterize the surface and the subsurface. In this work, theoretical calculations and extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) analysis illustrate that the surface atoms of noble metals (Pt and Pd) are oxidized in the air, while the subsurface atoms are not easily oxidized. Taking advantage of the oxidation properties, we suggest a stepwise reduction–oxidation approach to determine the surface atomic arrangement of noble metal nanoparticles, and confirm the rationality of this approach by identifying the surface structure of typical 2–3 nm Pt and Pd nanoparticles. The reduction–oxidation approach is applied to characterize the surface structure of model Pd-Sb bimetallic catalyst, which illustrates that the surface Pd is well isolated by Sb atoms with short bond distance at 2.70 Å, while there are still Pd–Pd bonds in the subsurface. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations and Pd L edge X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) indicate that the isolation of surface Pd significantly decreases the adsorption energies of Pd-hydrocarbon, which leads to the high propylene selectivity and turnover frequency Pd-Sb bimetallic catalyst for propane dehydrogenation.

Research Article Issue
Atomic Co/Ni dual sites with N/P-coordination as bifunctional oxygen electrocatalyst for rechargeable zinc–air batteries
Nano Research 2021, 14 (10): 3482-3488
Published: 23 May 2021
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Metal-nitrogen-carbon (M-N-C) single-atom catalysts exhibit desirable electrochemical catalytic properties. However, the replacement of N atoms by heteroatoms (B, P, S, etc.) has been regarded as a useful method for regulating the coordination environment. The structure engineered M-N-C sites via doping heteroatoms play an important role to the adsorption and activation of the oxygen intermediate. Herein, we develop an efficient strategy to construct dual atomic site catalysts via the formation of a Co1-PN and Ni1-PN planar configuration. The developed Co1-PNC/Ni1-PNC catalyst exhibits excellent bifunctional electrocatalytic performance in alkaline solution. Both experimental and theoretical results demonstrated that the N/P coordinated Co/Ni sites moderately reduced the binding interaction of oxygen intermediates. The Co1-PNC/Ni1-PNC endows a rechargeable Zn-air battery with excellent power density and cycling stability as an air-cathode, which is superior to that of the benchmark Pt/C+IrO2. This work paves an avenue for design of dual single-atomic sites and regulation of the atomic configuration on carbon-based materials to achieve high-performance electrocatalysts.

Review Article Issue
Single-atom catalysis enables long-life, high-energy lithium-sulfur batteries
Nano Research 2020, 13 (7): 1856-1866
Published: 29 April 2020
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With high energy density and low material cost, lithium-sulfur batteries (LSBs) emerge quite expeditiously as a fascinating energy storage system over the past decade. Broad applications of LSBs ranging from electric vehicles to stationary grid storage seem rather bright in recent literatures. However, there still exist many pressing challenges to be addressed because we do not yet fully understand and control the electrode-electrolyte interface chemistries during battery operation, such as polysulfide shuttling and poor utilization of active sulfur. Single-atom catalysts (SACs) pave new possibilities of tackling the tough issues due to their decent applicability in the atomic-level identification of structure-activity relationships and reaction mechanism, as well as their structural tunability with atomic precision. This review comprehensively summarizes the very recent advances in utilization of highly active SACs for LSBs by stating and discussing the related publications, which involves catalyst synthesis routes, battery performance, catalytic mechanisms, optimization strategies, and promises to achieve long-life, high-energy LSBs. We see that endeavors to employ SACs to modify sulfur cathode have allowed efficient polysulfide conversion and confinement, leading to the minimization of shuttle effect. Parallel efforts are being devoted to extending the scope of SACs to cell separator and lithium metal anode in order to unlock the full potential of LSBs. We also obtain mechanistic insights into battery chemistries and nature of SACs in their strong interactions with polysulfides through advanced in situ characterizations documented. Overall, acceleration in the development of LSBs by introducing SACs is noticeable, and this cutting edge needs more attentions to further promoting the design of better LSBs.

Research Article Issue
Fabricating Pd isolated single atom sites on C3N4/rGO for heterogenization of homogeneous catalysis
Nano Research 2020, 13 (4): 947-951
Published: 09 March 2020
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Metal isolated single atomic sites catalysts have attracted intensive attention in recent years owing to their maximized atom utilization and unique structure. Despite the success of single atom catalyst synthesis, directly anchoring metal single atoms on three-dimensional (3D) macro support, which is promising to achieve the heterogenization of homogeneous catalysis, remains a challenge and a blank in this field. Herein, we successfully fabricate metal single atoms (Pd, Pt, Ru, Au) on porous carbon nitride/ reduced graphene oxide (C3N4/rGO) foam as highly efficient catalysts with convenient recyclability. C3N4/rGO foam features two-dimensional microstructures with abundant N chelating sites for the stabilization of metal single atoms and vertically-aligned hierarchical mesostructure that benefits the mass diffusion. The obtained Pd1/C3N4/rGO monolith catalyst exhibits much enhanced activity over its nanoparticle counterpart for Suzuki-Miyaura reaction. Moreover, the Pd1/C3N4/rGO monolith catalyst can be readily assembled in a flow reactor to achieve the highly efficient continuous production of 4-nitro-1,1'-biphenyl through Suzuki-Miyaura coupling.

Research Article Issue
Photocatalytic hydrogenation of nitroarenes using Cu1.94S-Zn0.23Cd0.77S heteronanorods
Nano Research 2018, 11 (7): 3730-3738
Published: 02 August 2018
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Catalytic hydrogenation is an important process in the chemical industry. Traditional catalysts require the effective cleavage of hydrogen molecules on the metal-catalyst surface, which is difficult to achieve with non-noble metal catalysts. In this work, we report a new hydrogenation method based on water/proton reduction, which is completely different from the catalytic cleavage of hydrogen molecules. Active hydrogen species and photo-generated electrons can be directly applied to the hydrogenation process with Cu1.94S-Zn0.23Cd0.77S semiconductor heterojunction nanorods. Nitrobenzene, with a variety of substituent groups, can be efficiently reduced to the corresponding aniline without the addition of hydrogen gas. This is a novel and direct pathway for hydrogenation using non-noble metal catalysts.

Open Access Editor's Highlight Issue
Perfectly planar CoB18- as a motif for metallo-borophenes
Nano Research 2016, 9 (7): 1877-1878
Published: 24 May 2016
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Research Article Issue
Porous bimetallic Pt-Fe nanocatalysts for highly efficient hydrogenation of acetone
Nano Research 2015, 8 (8): 2706-2713
Published: 29 August 2015
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Porous Pt-Fe bimetallic nanocrystals have been synthesized via self-assembly and can effectively facilitate the synthesis of 2-propanol from acetone. The bimetallic catalyst has three-dimensional channels and shows turnover frequencies (TOFs) of up to 972 h-1 for a continuous process more than 50 h. Preliminary mechanistic studies suggest that the high reactivity is related to the interface consisting of a bimetallic Pt-Fe alloy and Fe2O3-x. An understanding of real catalytic behavior and the catalytic mechanism based on model systems has been shown to help fabricate an improved Pt/Fe3O4 catalyst with increased activity and lifetime which has great potential for large-scale industrial applications.

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