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2017-12-27 17:10  



Single-atom Catalysts: Structure, Stability and Reactivity


Ning Yan, Assistant Professor

National University of Singapore








Single-atom metal catalyst offers a promising way to utilize the precious noble metal elements more effectively, provided these isolated atoms are catalytically active and sufficiently stable. We have developed a synthetic strategy for Pt single-atom catalyst with outstanding stability in a series of reactions under demanding conditions. The Pt atoms are firmly embedded in the internal surface of mesoporous Al2O3that are enriched with coordinatively unsaturated pentahedral Al3+centers. Activity was fully maintained in CO oxidation after 60 cycles between 100oC and 400oC over one-month period without any metal aggregation or support deterioration. The catalyst also kept its structural integrity and excellent performance for selective hydrogenation of 1,3-butadiene, after exposure to reductive atmosphere at 200 °C for 24 h. Moreover, this system exhibited much enhanced stability and performance for n-hexane hydro-reforming at 550 °C for 48 h than control sample and commercial Pt nanoparticle catalyst on Al2O3. We have also developed Pt1 single-atom catalyst on phosphomolybdic acid (PMA) modified active carbon (AC), in which the accurate location and electronic state of reduced single metal atoms been determined, thus allow rational understanding of structure-reactivity correlations. This strategy could be extended to the synthesis of other single-atom catalysts such as Rh.


Dr. Ning Yan obtained his bachelor and PhD degrees from Peking University in 2004 and 2009, respectively. Thereafter, he worked as a Marie-Curie Research Fellow at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland. He joined the National University of Singapore (NUS) as an Assistant Professor and established the Lab of Green Catalysis in 2012. His major research interest includes catalytic biomass conversion, green chemistry & engineering, and catalyst development. Recently, he won the Young Investigator Award from NUS (2015), the Young Researcher Award from Global Green Chemistry Centres Network (G2C2, 2015), the RSC Environment, Sustainability and Energy Division Early Career Award (2017) and the ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering Lectureship Award (2018). Currently, Prof. Yan holds visiting researcher or visiting professor position in Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics in China, Hokkaido University in Japan, and University of Toulouse in France. He also sits in the editorial board ofACS Sustainable Chemistry & EngineeringandMolecular Catalysis, the early career editorial board ofACS Catalysis, and serves as associate editor forRSC Advances.

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