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  • Structure sensitivity is an important property in catalysis, although its determination at the atomic cluster scale remains difficult. Here, the authors explore the reactivity of different palladium clusters with low nuclearity identifying the ideal Pd–Pd coordination number for the dehydrogenation of dodecahydro-N-ethylcarbazole.

    • Chunyang Dong
    • Zirui Gao
    • Ding Ma
    Article
  • Ground state destabilization is often evoked as a possible explanation of orotidine-5′-phosphate decarboxylase catalysis. Now, high-resolution structures of this enzyme provide time-resolved snapshots along its reaction coordinate revealing that transition-state stabilization by electrostatic interactions drives its reactivity.

    • Sören Rindfleisch
    • Matthias Krull
    • Kai Tittmann
    Article
  • Atom trapping is a well-established route to prepare single-atom catalysts. Here the authors propose a reverse atom-trapping strategy in which surface strontium atoms of LSCF fuel cell cathodes are extracted by MoO3, forming single strontium vacancies on LSCF in a controllable manner and tuning its performance for the oxygen reduction reaction.

    • Zechao Zhuang
    • Yihang Li
    • Yadong Li
    Article
  • Crossover of CO2, in the form of carbonate, from the cathode to the anodic compartment places a major limitation on carbon efficiency in traditional CO2 electrolysis cells. Here, the authors place a porous solid electrolyte layer between the compartments, where protonation of carbonate during CO2 electrolysis allows recovery of over 90% of the lost CO2 gas.

    • Jung Yoon ‘Timothy’ Kim
    • Peng Zhu
    • Haotian Wang
    Article
  • PtRu nanoparticles are the state-of-the-art catalysts for methanol electrooxidation—the anodic reaction in direct methanol fuel cells. Now, a method of dispersing single Pt atoms over Ru nanoparticles is presented and monitored in situ, thereby boosting the catalytic performance in the methanol oxidation reaction.

    • Agus R. Poerwoprajitno
    • Lucy Gloag
    • Richard D. Tilley
    Article
  • Ammonia is industrially synthesized through an established process based on iron or ruthenium transition metal catalysts, although the quest for alternative and more sustainable processes is still ongoing. Here, the authors show that potassium hydride confined between graphene layers can reduce dinitrogen and catalyse ammonia synthesis under mild conditions.

    • Fei Chang
    • Ilker Tezsevin
    • Petra E. de Jongh
    Article
  • The scarcity and high price of noble metal catalysts pose critical challenges for the chemical industry, and finding strategies that ensure complete atom efficiency has become a pivotal endeavour. This work introduces the fabrication of amorphous single-layer PtSex catalysts for the hydrogen evolution reaction with high atom-utilization efficiency.

    • Yongmin He
    • Liren Liu
    • Zheng Liu
    Article
  • Poor management of gas flow limits efficiency in tandem (two-catalyst) electrocatalytic CO2 reduction. Here, the authors develop a segmented gas-diffusion electrode architecture that prolongs the residence time of CO (produced by the first catalyst) at the second catalyst, resulting in high production of further reduced yields.

    • Tianyu Zhang
    • Justin C. Bui
    • Jingjie Wu
    Article
  • Redox mediators catalyse the otherwise slow and energy-inefficient cycling of Li–S and Li–O2 batteries. An investigation of the kinetics of mediated Li2S and Li2O2 oxidations when the redox potentials of various mediators are tuned reveals threshold potentials for high reaction rates, which can be optimized in multiple ways.

    • Deqing Cao
    • Xiaoxiao Shen
    • Yuhui Chen
    Article
  • The electrochemical production of ethylene oxide from CO2 is an attractive yet challenging process. Now, a BaOx/IrO2 catalyst for ethylene oxidation is reported and applied in an O2-redox-mediated paired system for complete CO2 to ethylene oxide production.

    • Yuhang Li
    • Adnan Ozden
    • Edward H. Sargent
    Article
  • The implementation of precious metal-free catalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction in fuel cells requires techniques that enable the study of catalyst degradation during operation. Now, an electrochemical method to quantify the density of electrochemically active sites in precious metal-free fuel cell catalysts under in situ conditions is presented.

    • Rifael Z. Snitkoff-Sol
    • Ariel Friedman
    • Lior Elbaz
    Article
  • Biological CO2 fixation in cells is subject to natural limitations. Now a cell-free system with a cycle that is oxygen-insensitive and self-replenishing has been developed, allowing the conversion of CO2 into several C3 and C4 products in vitro with a steady-state CO2 fixation rate of 0.55 mM h−1.

    • Shanshan Luo
    • Paul P. Lin
    • James C. Liao
    Article Open Access
  • Metal–metal oxide inverse catalysts are an intriguing class of materials, although the understanding of their structure–activity properties remains elusive. Here, Vlachos and colleagues unravel the complex dynamic interplay between Brønsted acid and redox sites at the surface of a PtWOx/C inverse catalyst, offering a strategy to tune its acid-catalysed dehydration reactivity.

    • Jiayi Fu
    • Shizhong Liu
    • Dionisios G. Vlachos
    Article
  • Enantioselective C–C bond-forming reactions are underdeveloped in the biocatalysis toolbox. Now, engineering an efficient and promiscuous decarboxylative aldolase enzyme provides a solution to facilitate the convenient synthesis of non-standard γ-hydroxy amino acids from simple building blocks.

    • Jonathan M. Ellis
    • Meghan E. Campbell
    • Andrew R. Buller
    Article
  • How terpene cyclases catalyse deprotonation–reprotonation sequences during their complex reactions has remained obscure. Now it is shown that selinadiene synthase uses the carbonyl group of a glycine residue and an active-site water molecule to mediate this process.

    • Yong-Heng Wang
    • Houchao Xu
    • Jeroen S. Dickschat
    Article
  • Polymer electrolyte membrane water electrolysis is more efficient than its alkaline counterpart, but its implementation, in part, hinges on developing Earth-abundant catalysts that are active and stable for the oxygen evolution reaction in acid. Now, it is shown that incorporating Mn into Co3O4 substantially extends the catalyst lifetime in acidic electrolyte while maintaining the activity.

    • Ailong Li
    • Shuang Kong
    • Ryuhei Nakamura
    Article
  • The CO2-mediated oxidative dehydrogenation of propane is an attractive reaction for propylene production, although the selection of competent catalysts available for this process is scant. Now, the authors report a ceria-supported Pt–Co–In ternary alloy that achieves this transformation with high efficiency.

    • Feilong Xing
    • Yuki Nakaya
    • Shinya Furukawa
    Article