High temperature shockwave stabilized single atoms

YG Yao and ZN Huang and PF Xie and LP Wu and L Ma and TY Li and ZQ Pang and ML Jiao and ZQ Liang and JL Gao and Y He and DJ Kline and MR Zachariah and CM Wang and J Lu and TP Wu and T Li and C Wang and R Shahbazian and LB Hu, NATURE NANOTECHNOLOGY, 14, 851-+ (2019).

DOI: 10.1038/s41565-019-0518-7

The stability of single-atom catalysts is critical for their practical applications. Although a high temperature can promote the bond formation between metal atoms and the substrate with an enhanced stability, it often causes atom agglomeration and is incompatible with many temperature-sensitive substrates. Here, we report using controllable high-temperature shockwaves to synthesize and stabilize single atoms at very high temperatures (1,500-2,000 K), achieved by a periodic on-off heating that features a short on state (55 ms) and a ten-times longer off state. The high temperature provides the activation energy for atom dispersion by forming thermodynamically favourable metal-defect bonds and the off-state critically ensures the overall stability, especially for the substrate. The resultant high-temperature single atoms exhibit a superior thermal stability as durable catalysts. The reported shockwave method is facile, ultrafast and universal (for example, Pt, Ru and Co single atoms, and carbon, C3N4 and TiO2 substrates), which opens a general route for single-atom manufacturing that is conventionally challenging.

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