Research ArticleChemistry

A sulfur-tethering synthesis strategy toward high-loading atomically dispersed noble metal catalysts

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Science Advances  25 Oct 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 10, eaax6322
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax6322


Metals often exhibit robust catalytic activity and specific selectivity when downsized into subnanoscale clusters and even atomic dispersion owing to the high atom utilization and unique electronic properties. However, loading of atomically dispersed metal on solid supports with high metal contents for practical catalytic applications remains a synthetic bottleneck. Here, we report the use of mesoporous sulfur-doped carbons as supports to achieve high-loading atomically dispersed noble metal catalysts. The high sulfur content and large surface area endow the supports with high-density anchor sites for fixing metal atoms via the strong chemical metal-sulfur interactions. By the sulfur-tethering strategy, we synthesize atomically dispersed Ru, Rh, Pd, Ir, and Pt catalysts with high metal loading up to 10 wt %. The prepared Pt and Ir catalysts show 30- and 20-fold higher activity than the commercial Pt/C and Ir/C catalysts for catalyzing formic acid oxidation and quinoline hydrogenation, respectively.

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