Special Reviews

Catalytic Nanoarchitectures--the Importance of Nothing and the Unimportance of Periodicity

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Science  14 Mar 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5613, pp. 1698-1701
DOI: 10.1126/science.1082332

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Heterogeneous catalysis has always been an inherently nanoscopic phenomenon with important technological and societal consequences for energy conversion and the production of chemicals. New opportunities for improved performance arise when the multifunctionality inherent in catalytic processes, including molecular transport of reactants and products, is rethought in light of architectures designed and fabricated from the appropriate nanoscale building blocks, including the use of “nothing” (void space) and deliberate disorder as design components. Architectures with all of the appropriate electrochemical and catalytic requirements, including large surface areas readily accessible to molecules, may now be assembled on the benchtop. Designing catalytic nanoarchitectures that depart from the hegemony of periodicity and order offers the promise of even higher activity.

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