The research on single-atom catalysis of DICP evokes much international attention recently, and the journal of Accounts of Chemical Research has invited Prof. Tao Zhang to write a review article in this field, which was titled as “Single-Atom Catalysts: A New Frontier in Heterogeneous Catalysis” (Acc. Chem. Res., 2013, 46 (8), 1740–1748, DOI: 10.1021/ar300361m, http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ar300361m）.
One of the most important objects in heterogeneous catalysis is to improve the catalytic efficiency of metal-supported catalysts which are wildly used in chemical industry. In 2011, the first single atom catalyst Pt1/FeOx was developed by a collaborative team led by Prof. Tao Zhang (Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, CAS, China), Prof. Jun Li (Tsinghua University, China) and Prof. Jingyue Liu (University of Missouri-St. Louis, USA), and a new concept of single-atom catalysis was proposed. The work is published in Nature Chemistry Nature Chem., 2011, 3, 634-641.
In this account, a general understanding of single-atom catalysis, and the catalytic properties and atomic structure of such kind of catalysts was provided. Compared with the conventional catalysts, the preparation and characterization of single-atom catalysts is still a challenge. While by controlled chemical process, modern techniques on characterization and modeling, the atomic resolution of single-atom catalysts can now be accessed. Such single-atom catalysts exhibit excellent catalytic performance in various catalytic reactions, which derived from the spatial arrangements and electronic properties of single atoms, as well as their interactions with the support. Utilization of novel properties of single metal atoms on support surfaces provide unique opportunity in tuning the active sites and optimizing the activity, selectivity, and stability of heterogeneous catalysts, thus having potential applications in a variety of industrial chemical reactions. （By Yang Xiaofeng）