Catalysis plays a critical role in a diverse range of applications, including emerging technologies related to renewable energy and sustainable environment, such as water splitting, CO2 reduction, pollutant treatment, energy conversion, and production of hydrocarbons. Key to the development of novel energy conversion and production technologies is the design and synthesis of well-defined functional catalytic materials with precisely tailored structures and functions. In this sense, advances in materials science bring about many opportunities for catalysis, ranging from the preparation and characterization of catalysts and in-situ or operando monitoring of catalytic reactions, to the understanding of the reaction mechanisms. For instance, recent advances in material science enable the synthesis and characterization of materials (e.g., nanoparticles and nanoclusters) with atomic precision. This presents new opportunities for an atom-scale design, tuning and control of chemical activity, specificity, and selectivity of a catalyst. The new insights gained from the “materials science” perspective are helpful for exploring the strong, non-linear correlation between the sizes/compositions of catalyst particles and their catalytic properties, and eventually achieving rational manipulation of the latter through the former.
This symposium aims to provide a platform of discussion on the discovery and development of novel catalytic materials, covering but not limited to single-atoms, clusters, particles, films, and hierarchical structures, with emphasis on energy and environmental applications. A palette of in situ spectroscopic and microscopic techniques useful for characterizing their structural features and catalytic impact will also be included.