Single-atom nanozymes

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Science Advances  03 May 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 5, eaav5490
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav5490


Conventional nanozyme technologies face formidable challenges of intricate size-, composition-, and facet-dependent catalysis and inherently low active site density. We discovered a new class of single-atom nanozymes with atomically dispersed enzyme-like active sites in nanomaterials, which significantly enhanced catalytic performance, and uncovered the underlying mechanism. With oxidase catalysis as a model reaction, experimental studies and theoretical calculations revealed that single-atom nanozymes with carbon nanoframe–confined FeN5 active centers (FeN5 SA/CNF) catalytically behaved like the axial ligand–coordinated heme of cytochrome P450. The definite active moieties and crucial synergistic effects endow FeN5 SA/CNF with a clear electron push-effect mechanism, as well as the highest oxidase-like activity among other nanozymes (the rate constant is 70 times higher than that of commercial Pt/C) and versatile antibacterial applications. These suggest that the single-atom nanozymes have great potential to become the next-generation nanozymes.

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