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Catalysis with two-dimensional materials and their heterostructures

Abstract

Graphene and other 2D atomic crystals are of considerable interest in catalysis because of their unique structural and electronic properties. Over the past decade, the materials have been used in a variety of reactions, including the oxygen reduction reaction, water splitting and CO2 activation, and have been shown to exhibit a range of catalytic mechanisms. Here, we review recent advances in the use of graphene and other 2D materials in catalytic applications, focusing in particular on the catalytic activity of heterogeneous systems such as van der Waals heterostructures (stacks of several 2D crystals). We discuss the advantages of these materials for catalysis and the different routes available to tune their electronic states and active sites. We also explore the future opportunities of these catalytic materials and the challenges they face in terms of both fundamental understanding and the development of industrial applications.

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Figure 1: Schematics of catalysis or active sites for various graphene structures and their heterostructures.
Figure 2: Graphene as a catalyst, through perturbations to the hexagonal structure.
Figure 3: Other 2D materials for catalytic applications.
Figure 4: Catalytic properties of metals coated with 2D crystals, arising from electron transfer between metal and 2D crystals.
Figure 5: Catalysis under graphene cover, and from sandwich structures based on 2D crystals.

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Acknowledgements

We thank H.B. Li for help with drawing the structural models in Figs 1 and 4a, and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grants 21321002, 21573220 and 21303191) and the strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (grant no. XDA09030100) for financial support.

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Correspondence to K. S. Novoselov or Zhongqun Tian or Xinhe Bao.

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Deng, D., Novoselov, K., Fu, Q. et al. Catalysis with two-dimensional materials and their heterostructures. Nature Nanotech 11, 218–230 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2015.340

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